A pair of Donald Trump’s longtime adversaries attacked the former president on Monday for saying he would “encourage” Russia to attack any NATO country that doesn’t meet its financial obligation to the defense alliance.
“Trump sells out our NATO allies to Putin. This should be front-page news of every paper in the country,” former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton posted on X. “These are the stakes of 2024.”
Former Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who lost her seat in 2022 after denouncing Trump, said NATO is essential to deterring war and defending U.S. national security.
“No sane American President would encourage Putin to attack our NATO allies. No honorable American leaders would excuse or endorse this,” she also wrote on X.
Speaking at a campaign rally in South Carolina on Saturday, Trump said that, while in office, he told NATO leaders that he would “encourage” Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to alliance members that don’t meet the group’s spending targets.
Each of the 31 NATO countries are supposed to commit at least 2 percent of their wealth to defense spending for the alliance within a decade. Trump has repeatedly bashed those who haven’t met the goal, while the United States has.
GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley also bashed Trump for the remarks, telling POLITICO Playbook that “it’s the kind of comment that makes Joe Biden look clear-headed.”
His comment “should send a chill up everyone’s spine,” Haley said, adding it is “lacking moral clarity.”
Democrats and some Republicans were also quick to condemn Trump, though many Republicans weren’t concerned by his remarks.
In Europe, however, leaders reacted with disbelief to Trump’s insistence that Russia should attack neighboring countries.
“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines our security,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told a Norwegian television outlet on Sunday. “I expect the U.S. to remain a strong and devoted ally of NATO, whoever wins the presidential election.”