Former President Donald Trump has been criticized by some fellow Republicans for his comments about NATO members’ contributions to the defense alliance being lagging.
Chris Christie, former Republican presidential candidate, said that Trump would not protect NATO members from future attacks if those countries’ contributions were lagging.
Trump also complained about “delinquent” payments by some NATO countries and recounted a conversation with a big country head about an attack by Russia on such countries. The remarks prompted rebukes from the White House and other top Western officials.
The failure of many of NATO’s 31 members to meet a defense spending target of at least 2% of gross domestic product has long been a source of tension with the United States, whose armed forces form the core of the alliance’s military power.
NATO estimates show that only 11 members are spending at the target level. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Trump’s lone remaining challenger for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, said that the last thing they ever want to do is side with Russia. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham disagreed with Trump’s remarks, stating that Russia didn’t invade anybody when he was president, and if he’s president again, they won’t.Politico reported that Republican Senator Thom Tillis blamed Trump aides for failing to explain to the former president that the United States, as a NATO member, is committed to defending any member of the alliance that is attacked.
Republican Senator Rand Paul also called Trump’s remarks a “stupid thing to say.”On a rare weekend of debates over President Joe Biden’s request for emergency aid to help Ukraine repel a nearly two-year-old Russian attack and Israel in its war with Hamas in Gaza, some Republicans defended Trump.