NATO Leaders Tear Into Donald Trump

( – On Feb. 12, German Chancellor Olaf Schol and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk criticized former President Donald Trump after he threatened not to defend NATO members who do not fulfill their defense spending obligations to the alliance.

The leaders responded after Trump commented about NATO and the members who do not fulfill their obligation of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense during his Feb. 10 rally in Conway, South Carolina. Trump said that he told the leaders, “Everybody’s gonna pay,” adding that the leaders were shocked by his answer that if they did not pay, they would not be protected, even from Russia. Trump recalled telling them, “You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

In a statement, Scholz said that “NATO’s promise of protection is without restriction,” adding that NATO would be strengthened “for the security of Europe.” He also said Germany intends to increase its defense spending to fulfill its obligation to NATO.

The German government wrote on Twitter that over 950 million people are kept safe because of NATO.

Tusk said Trump’s words “should have the effect of a cold shower” for anyone that underestimates the “real threat Europe is facing,” adding that NATO understands Europe’s defense capabilities need to be increased.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also commented on what Trump said at the rally, stating that no matter who wins in November, “the U.S. will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”

The NATO member nations commit to defend any nation in the alliance if a nation is attacked. The member nations pledged in 2014 to spend 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense by 2024. According to a NATO annual report, only seven of NATO’s then-30 member nations fulfilled their 2 percent obligation in 2022. Estimates from early 2023 show 10 of the then-30-member nations were close to or above 2 percent, with 13 nations spending less than 1.5 percent. There are now 31 NATO member nations, as Finland joined the alliance in April 2023.

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