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Thursday February 22, 2024

Republicans blast Trump over threat to abandon Nato allies

Nato estimates have shown that only 11 members are spending at the target level

By REUTERS
February 13, 2024
Former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie. — AFP/File
Former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: Some of former president Donald Trump’s fellow Republicans on Monday lashed out at him for saying he would not want to protect Nato members from a future attack by Russia if those countries’ contributions to the defence alliance were lagging.

“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” programme.

During a political rally on Saturday in South Carolina, Trump complained about what he called “delinquent” payments by some Nato countries and recounted what he said was a past conversation with the head of “a big country” about an attack by Russia on such countries.

“No, I would not protect you. In fact I would encourage them (Russia) to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay,” Trump said he told the unnamed leader.The remarks prompted rebukes from the White House, which called them “appalling and unhinged,” as well as from other top Western officials.The failure of many of Nato’s 31 members to meet a defence spending target of at least 2 percent of gross domestic product has long been a source of tension with the United States, whose armed forces form the core the alliance’s military power. Nato estimates have shown that only 11 members are spending at the target level.