Trump Defends NATO Comments In Genius New Way 

This week, Donald Trump defended comments that he made that Russia should “do whatever the hell they want” to any NATO member that was delinquent on their payments or came up short in defense funding.

In speaking with Nigel Farage, a politician in England, on GB News, Trump said that his comments were just “a form of negotiation.”

The comments that Trump made were delivered in February at a rally he held in South Carolina. He was recounting when he was telling a leader of an unnamed NATO nation that he’d “encourage” Russia to do whatever it wanted to do with the allies that fell short of financial commitments they made to the alliance.

Farage said those comments were being used against Trump now, and asked him repeated if he were committed to NATO if the other members carried their weight.

As Trump said about his comments:

“I don’t care if they use it. Because what I’m saying is a form of negotiation. Why should we guard these countries that have a lot of money and the United States was paying for most of NATO?”

The mutual defense pact of the NATO bylaws say that all member nations must back other member nations with military help should one get attacked. 

Leadership of NATO pledged in 2014 to reach obligations to spend 2% of each country’s GDP on defense, which came following Russia annexing Crimea from Ukraine. When Trump pressured the alliance to dedicate more money to defense in 2017, the alliance agreed to do so.

Trump told Farage that when he met with member nations of NATO, he “hit them hard [after] the head of a major country” asked what it would mean if they failed to pay, in terms of U.S. backing aggression from Russia. 

He replied:

“I said, ‘you mean you’re delinquent? You’re not paying the bills? Then no, I’m not going to pay you, we’re not going to do it.’ And hundreds of billions of dollars came flowing in.”

NATO nations that aren’t spending 2% of their GDP on defense have long been a target of Trump. The threats that the former president has made has drawn the ire of President Joe Biden. In February, he said that Trump’s comments were “appalling and dangerous.”

Some people are concerned that if Trump were to win the White House in November’s election, he might move to withdraw the U.S. from NATO entirely. 

John Bolton, a former national security adviser in the Trump administration, has said that the U.S. would “almost certainly withdraw from NATO” should Trump win another term.

Congress passed new legislation last year, though, that bars any president from withdrawing from NATO unilaterally without gaining approval of two-thirds of the Senate or through an Act of Congress.

That would certainly create some barrier to Trump withdrawing from NATO if he were to win the presidential election later this year.