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World leaders enraged by Trump, say his NATO remarks put civilian lives at risk

Western leaders have censured former US president Donald Trump for saying the US might not protect NATO allies who are not spending enough on the military alliance.

Trump, who is likely to be the Republican nominee in this year’s US presidential election, claimed at a rally in South Carolina on Saturday that at a meeting with NATO leaders, “a big country” asked him, “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?’ Trump said: ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ No I would not protect you. In fact I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay.”

After this dialog between them, Trump claimed that the money “came flowing in” from NATO member states.

Trump told the campaign rally that he would “encourage” Russia to attack any of the US’s NATO allies that he felt were not paying their fair share.

His comments drew a swift rebuke from US allies, NATO and US leaders.

Germany’s foreign ministry posted the message ‘One for all and all for one’ with the hashtag #StrongerTogether on its English language X account following Trump’s comments.

EU Council President Charles Michel said “Reckless statements on NATO’s security and Art 5 solidarity serve only (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s interest.”

Article 5 of the NATO treaty says that an armed attack against an alliance member will be considered an attack against them all, triggering collective self-defense.

Polish Defense Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz also weighed in.

“NATO’s motto ‘one for all, all for one’ is a concrete commitment. Undermining the credibility of allied countries means weakening the entire NATO,” he wrote on social media platform X.

“No election campaign is an excuse for playing with the security of the Alliance.”

The White House described Trump’s remarks as “appalling and unhinged”

US President Joe Biden said in a statement on Sunday that should Trump gain power again, he would “clearly” abandon US’ NATO allies.

“America’s leadership on the world stage and support for our allies is critical to keeping the American people safe here at home,” said Biden.

“If my opponent, Donald Trump, is able to regain power, he is making it clear as day that he will abandon our NATO allies if Russia attacks and allow Russia to ‘do whatever the hell they want’ with them.”

‘Trump undermines security’

NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg in a written statement in reaction to Trump’s remarks said such suggestions would undermine the alliance’s security.

“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” Stoltenberg said.

Ukraine could ‘drop us like a dog’, Trump warns

Ukraine could ‘drop us like a dog’, Trump warns

Former US president Donald Trump warns against Washington’s continued support for Ukraine, saying Kiev has the potential to “drop us like a dog.”

NATO’s 31 members have agreed on a target of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, but NATO estimates have shown that only 11 are spending that much.

“President Trump got our allies to increase their NATO spending by demanding they pay up, but Joe Biden went back to letting them take advantage of the American taxpayer,” said Jason Miller, Trump’s senior campaign advisor.

“When you don’t pay your defense spending, you can’t be surprised that you get more war.”

Trump had said he remained skeptical of organizations such as NATO, whose eastward expansion in Europe near Russia’s border led to Moscow’s repeated warnings ahead of the war with Ukraine.

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