United States: On Sunday, some of former President Donald Trump’s Republicans attacked him after he himself said he would not like to protect NATO members from a possible future Russian attack if their amounts of contributions to the defense alliance were behind. 

“This is why I’ve been saying for a long time that he’s unfit to be president of the United States,” former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. 

Trump’s Controversial Statement at South Carolina Event 

At a Saturday political event in South Carolina, Trump complained about what he described as “delinquent” payments by certain NATO allies and related an alleged previous discussion he had with the leader of “a big country” over a Russian strike on such nations. 

“No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever they want. You gotta pay,” Trump said he told the unnamed leader. 

The White House rebuked the prompted remarks, which called them “appalling and unhinged,” as well as from other top Western officials. 

NATO Spending Dispute and Defense Obligations 

One of the issues between the United States and many of NATO’s 31 members has been their failure to meet a defense spending target of at least 2% of GOP for a long time. The US military power constitutes the center of the alliance’s military power. There are 11 members that are spending at the target level, as estimated by NATO. 

“The last thing we ever want to do is side with Russia,” said Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. 

Interviewed on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” she added: “Don’t take the side of someone who has gone and invaded a country and half a million people have died or been wounded because of Putin” in his war against Ukraine. 

In an interview, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Trump’s supporters, told Reuters that he disagreed “with the way he (Trump) said it,” referring to the NATO remarks. Graham added: “Russia didn’t invade anybody when he was president, and if he’s president again, they won’t.” 

Senators Disagree with Trump’s NATO Remarks 

Politico stated that Republican Senator Thom Tillis accused the presidential aides of not telling Trump that, as a NATO member, the United States is obliged to defend any NATO member that is attacked. 

It also quoted Republican Senator Rand Paul sharing the same view, calling Trump’s remarks a “stupid thing to say.” 

On a day when the Senate was holding a weekend of debates on emergency assistance sought by President Joe Biden to Ukraine to repel a nearly two-year-old Russian attack and for Israel in the war with Hamas in Gaza, the Republicans defended Trump. 

“Virtually every American president at some point, in some way, has complained about other countries in NATO not doing enough—Trump’s just the first one to express it in these terms. But I have zero concern because he’s been president before,” Senator Marco Rubio said in an interview with CNN. 

Trump Campaign Advisor Defends Peaceful Record 

Senior Trump campaign advisor, Jason Miller, in a statement, sidestepped the remark encouraging Russia to take on some NATO allies by adding, “Democrat and media pearl-clutches seem to have forgotten that we had four years of peace and prosperity under President Trump,” while leveling attacks against Biden. 

In a small Conversation with Reuters, Democratic Senator Peter Welch, on Capitol Hill, said Trump “normalizes belligerent behavior. But in fact, he means it.” 

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