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NATO Criticizes Donald Trump for Potentially Endangering Soldiers

Former U.S. President Donald Trump faced censure from NATO for his remarks suggesting he would allow Russia to do "what it wants" with Alliance members that do not sufficiently cover their defense costs.
At a South Carolina rally on Saturday, Trump recalled a discussion with a leader of an unspecified "large country," who had queried whether they could rely on U.S. protection in the event of a Russian attack.

“I said, ‘You’re not paying? You’re not paying? No, I would not defend you. In fact, I would encourage them to do what they want. You have to pay. You have to pay your bills,'" Trump stated at the event.

STRONG REACTIONS ENSUED

In response, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared in a statement that "NATO remains ready and capable of defending all allies. Any attack on NATO will be met with a collective and forceful response." He added:

"Any suggestion that allies would not defend one another jeopardizes the security of us all, including the United States, and puts at greater risk American and European soldiers. I expect that no matter who wins the presidential election, the United States will continue to be a strong and dedicated NATO ally."

Reacting to the news on X (formerly known as Twitter), European Council President Charles Michel emphasized, "The transatlantic alliance has underpinned the security and prosperity of Americans, Canadians, and Europeans for 75 years." He also noted that statements like Trump's are dangerous.

"Reckless declarations about NATO's security and the solidarity stipulated by Article 5 only serve Putin's interests. They do not bring more security or peace to the world. On the contrary, they underscore the urgent need for the EU to continue developing its strategic autonomy and invest in its own defense. And that our alliance must remain strong."

The former president has long criticized NATO and threatened to withdraw the United States from the alliance. Part of his campaign pledge is a fundamental reassessment of "NATO's purpose and mission."

Trump's comments are likely to heighten concerns in Europe that the United States could withdraw military support from Ukraine if he is re-elected later this year.
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