Updated February 11th, 2024 at 12:43 IST
'Pay Your Bills': Donald Trump 'Encourages' Russia to Attack NATO Allies That Don't Pay Their Share
Ex-US President Donald Trump said that he would encourage Russia to “do whatever they want” to NATO nations that did not meet their “financial obligation”.
South Carolina – Amid the brewing tensions between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), former US President Donald Trump said that he would encourage Moscow to “do whatever the hell they want” if it plans to attack NATO nations that did not meet their “financial obligation”. The provocative remarks from the business-mogul-turned-politician came during a campaign rally in South Carolina. While making the assertion, Trump recalled an exchange with a president of a “big country” who asked him whether the nation would be protected if it is attacked by Russia. In response to this, Trump told the leader that the United States would not protect the bloc if they did not pay their fair share, NBC News reported.
“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’” Trump said, adding “I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’”. He went on to claim that instead of protecting the country, he would encourage Russia to attack. “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You have to pay your bills," he added. Trump's positive remarks for Putin have been under the radar ever since the commencement of the Russia-Ukraine war. Last year, the former US President described the Russian leader as a “very smart man”.
White House calls the remarks ‘appalling’
In response to Trump's provocative remarks, the White House condemned the former US President's assertions and called his comments “appalling and unhinged”. “Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged – and it endangers American national security, global stability and our economy at home," White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said when asked about Trump's comments. The remarks from Trump came amid growing concerns among the NATO allies that Russia might launch an attack against the Western alliance. In the past, the former US President has groused about NATO and even threatened to pull the United States out of the bloc.
He has been demanding the member nations spend 2% of their gross domestic product on defence, calling for a level playing field. According to the report released by the group last year, only 11 of the then-30 member nations were spending 2% of their GDP or more on defence. In light of Trump's repeated threats, US President Joe Biden signed an $886 billion defence bill in January, that bars a president from unilaterally withdrawing from NATO.
Published February 11th, 2024 at 12:43 IST