Trump causes uproar, suggests Russia can 'do whatever it likes' with non‑paying NATO countries
"In essence, I would encourage them (the Russians, he clarified), to do what they please. You have to pay your dues," Trump firmly stated. He preceded this with a recounting of an alleged conversation with a representative of a major NATO state.
"He asked if they don’t pay and get attacked by Russia, would I defend them. I told him bluntly: If you don’t settle your arrears, I won’t come to your defense," Trump added.
A Surge of Comments Follows Trump's Statement
The White House swiftly critiqued this statement. Simultaneously, numerous comments began flooding social media. The majority of users reacted with outrage and disbelief to the former president’s words. Heated comments were particularly rampant on the X platform.
"When we were attacked on September 11, 2001, our NATO allies came to our aid. Soldiers from NATO countries died, fighting alongside our soldiers in Afghanistan, even though none of their countries were directly attacked. Please remember these facts. Thank you," wrote Michael McFoul, political science professor and Hooper Senior Fellow at Stanford University and former US ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.
Professor McFoul also deemed the former president's statement as "madness," adding, "Trump is displaying once again his misunderstanding of NATO functioning! This isn’t a protection racket. They don't pay us for their protection. Unbelievable," wrote the ex-diplomat.
Anne Applebaum-Sikorska, an American-Polish journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner, and contributor to The Atlantic, expressed in her post that Trump fails to comprehend the workings of the North Atlantic Treaty. According to her, his comments "send a worrisome message to Russia", serving as an "invitation to expand the war".