Trump slammed over threat to 'encourage' attacks on NATO

Former US president Donald Trump said on Saturday, 10 February, that he would “encourage” Russia to attack members of NATO who had not met their financial obligations, in remarks that the White House rejected as “appalling and unhinged”.

Speaking at a campaign rally in South Carolina on Saturday, the Republican presidential nomination frontrunner appeared to recount a conversation with a fellow head of state at an unspecified NATO meeting:

“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?’ I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?'”

“No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

‘Appalling and unhinged’

Trump has long expressed scepticism about the 31-nation military alliance.

On being asked about Trump’s statement, White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said: “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.”

Trump looks set to run again as the Republican candidate for the White House in this year’s presidential election.

Trump’s comments came after Senate Republicans on Wednesday (7 February) rejected a bipartisan bill that would have included crucially needed new funding for Ukraine and aid for ally Israel, along with reforms to deal with the US–Mexico border crisis.

dvv/ab (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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