Donald Trump’s NATO Comment Sparks Furious Backlash: ‘Unhinged’

Former President Donald Trump has sparked backlash after suggesting he would “encourage” Russia to attack NATO countries falling short of guideline financial contributions to the alliance. Trump appeared to recall a conversation with an unnamed politician he described as “one of the presidents of a big country.” The Republican presidential nominee frontrunner said the anonymous leader had asked whether the U.S. would protect the NATO nation, if Russia attacked. Trump told the crowd that he would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.

A bedrock principle of NATO is its Article 5, mandating that an armed attack on one alliance country is seen as an attack against all member states. Member countries have a defense-pending target of approximately 2 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP), although many countries do not reach this threshold despite increases in spending since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The White House denouncing the remarks as “appalling and unhinged,” the White House spokesperson, Andrew Bates, stated.

The U.S. is a significant player in NATO, with Washington’s defense spending representing around two thirds of its military expenditure. However, this is not the amount that the United States contributes to the operational running of NATO, which is shared with all allies according to the principle of common funding. Trump has repeatedly criticized the alliance and had discussed withdrawing the U.S. from NATO while in office.

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