Defense: Trump: "Made NATO strong"

During the presidential election campaign, Trump threatened that he would not support defaulting NATO partners if he were re-elected. Now he boasts of having strengthened the defense alliance.

After the outrage over Donald Trump’s election campaign statement that he did not want to protect defaulting NATO partners from Russia in an emergency, the former US President now claims to have strengthened the defense alliance. “I made NATO strong,” the Republican wrote in capital letters on the social network he co-founded, Truth Social. When he told countries that hadn’t paid their fair share that they had to pay “otherwise they wouldn’t receive military protection from the United States,” the money came in.

“After so many years of the United States footing the bill, this was a beautiful sight,” Trump continued. But now that he is no longer there to ask the partners to pay, their willingness to pay decreases again.

The Republican said on Saturday at a campaign event in the US state of South Carolina that the “president of a great country” had once asked him whether the USA would also protect the country from Russia if it did not pay for defense spending. He replied: “No, I wouldn’t protect you.” What’s more, he would “even encourage Russia to do whatever the hell they want.” It was unclear whether such a conversation had ever taken place between Trump and a head of state, as the Republican also said: “Let’s assume that happened.”

Trump’s questioning of NATO’s duty to provide assistance triggered a wave of outrage from Washington to Brussels to Berlin. Trump wants to run for the Republicans again in the US presidential election in November. During his term of office from 2017 to 2021, he repeatedly called on the NATO states to achieve the defense goal of two percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and threatened to withdraw the USA from the defense alliance.