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28 Feb, 2024 01:31

EU leaders ‘scared to death’ by Trump – Biden

The US president has slammed his rival’s “outrageous” demand for NATO allies to pay their bills
EU leaders ‘scared to death’ by Trump – Biden

US President Joe Biden has criticized Donald Trump’s comments on NATO as “absolutely bizarre,” after the Republican frontrunner said Washington should not defend its European allies who refuse to fulfill their military spending commitments.

Biden slammed his Republican rival during a “surprise” guest appearance on NBC’s ‘Late Night with Seth Meyers’ on Monday, insisting that Trump’s idea that the US is not obliged to protect its allies was “totally against our interest.”

“I’ve known every major foreign leader for the longest time, and I know all these guys extremely well. They’re scared to death. What it means for them, for them, what it means if we walk away.” Biden said. “It is just outrageous what he is talking about.”

Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail was in line with his NATO-skeptic stance during his term in the White House. Speaking at a rally in South Carolina earlier this month, Trump recalled an encounter in which he supposedly told a European leader that unless that nation met the spending threshold, the US would consider it “delinquent” and not defend it in the event of a Russian attack.

“In fact I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills,” Trump recalled telling the unnamed ally.

Facing criticism for this “dangerous” and “un-American” stance, Trump doubled down with his verbal attack on low-spending members of the military bloc, arguing that the rest of NATO needs to send at least as much aid to Ukraine as the US does.

Trump also called on his loyalists in the US legislature to oppose any future assistance for Ukraine unless it includes a means to recoup the money.

“They want to give them $60 billion more,” Trump said. “Why should you just hand it over to them? Do it as the form of a loan… If they can make it, they pay us back.”

With Sweden clearing the final hurdle for accession this week, the trans-Atlantic alliance now has 32 member states, only two of which are located in North America. The organization recommends that each country spend at least 2% of GDP on military purposes, but even the wealthiest members such as Germany, France and Italy, have failed to meet the target for decades. However, smaller EU nations did ramp up their military spending during Trump’s presidency, something he has claimed as a personal diplomatic achievement.

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