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15 Feb, 2024 12:34

Trump pitches Ukraine aid loan

Future US assistance to Kiev could be made on “extraordinarily good terms,” the Republican presidential candidate has argued
Trump pitches Ukraine aid loan

Former US President Donald Trump has said future aid to Ukraine could come in the form of repayable loans, as a proposed new package for Kiev stalls in Congress amid a standoff over immigration and domestic border policy.

On Tuesday, senators passed a foreign aid package that tied enhanced policies on the US southern border to $60 billion worth of assistance for Ukraine, along with funds for Israel, Taiwan, and humanitarian aid in Gaza.

Trump, however, has called on his loyalists in the US legislature to oppose the bill, stating that Republican lawmakers should instead hold out for a “perfect” immigration deal.

Speaking to supporters in South Carolina on Wednesday, the former leader said any future assistance for Ukraine should only be rubber-stamped if it includes a means to recoup the money.

“They want to give them $60 billion more,” Trump said at a rally in North Charleston, ahead of South Carolina’s Republican presidential primary on February 24. “Do it this way. Loan them the money. If they can make it, they pay us back. If they can’t make it, they don’t have to pay us back.” 

“Why should you just hand it over to them? Do it as the form of a loan,” he added.

Trump’s pitch follows a social media post in which he proposed the idea of foreign assistance in the form of loans made on “extraordinarily good terms,” having no interest and an “unlimited life.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has generally backed assistance for Ukraine but voted against the most recent Senate aid package, endorsed Trump’s loan suggestion on Monday. The South Carolina lawmaker said in a statement that the idea would “change the paradigm” of US foreign policy and is necessary because Washington is “deeply in debt.”

US President Joe Biden, meanwhile, called upon the House on Tuesday to pass the foreign aid bill “with urgency,” claiming that “the cost of inaction [is] rising every day.”

Trump’s Ukraine loan proposal appears to be in line with policy pledges to reduce US foreign spending, should he be reelected to the White House in November.

According to Bloomberg, which cited anonymous officials with knowledge of internal discussions, Trump has discussed modifying NATO so that only members that achieve defense-spending objectives would receive the full backing of the bloc.

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