Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Some GOP senators shy away from Trump threat he won’t aid ‘delinquent’ NATO allies

BY: JENNIFER SHUTT, Tennessee Lookout, FEBRUARY 13, 2024 -  Republican and Democratic senators on Monday distanced themselves from comments Donald Trump made about NATO over the weekend, when the GOP front-runner said the United States might not assist those countries should Russia expand its war in Europe.

...  provoked frustration among some Republican senators who say they believe the organization is important for Western democracy as well as American national security.

Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said in a brief interview Monday that he would encourage Trump not to make positive comments about Russia or similarly aligned countries.

“I think the best advice I could give to our presidential candidate, Trump, is simply to say, ‘Don’t say anything nice about any communist,’” Grassley said, listing off Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Grassley said “it’s pretty simple” that the United States should not “appease” anyone like Putin, who he alleged is a “war criminal.”

“Why would you want to give any encouragement to him?” Grassley said of Putin.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford ... “We shouldn’t have to do that. The president of the United States should actually want to stick with our alliances,” Lankford said, noting that he disagrees with what Trump said over the weekend. “I don’t agree, by any means, that we should turn away from our allies,” Lankford said.

West Virginia Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Congress is “very supportive of NATO.”

... Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst said Congress “shouldn’t encourage anything like that” when asked about Trump’s comments. “Obviously, the Europeans are our partners. We’ll continue to encourage them to contribute to NATO and do better,” Ernst said.

... Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran said NATO is “an important ally and we need to be united as we combat many of the world’s challenges together.” Moran shrugged his shoulders when asked if there’s a way for Republicans to convince Trump that NATO is a beneficial alliance.

... Indiana Republican Sen. Todd Young said that Congress could “continue to instill confidence in our NATO allies by passing” the emergency spending bill for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

.... Nikki Haley, U.N. ambassador during the Trump administration and his main challenger left in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, admonished the former president during a campaign event in South Carolina on Monday, saying that she was “appalled” when she heard what he said about NATO.

“The idea that he said he would side with (Putin) over our allies who were with us after 9/11 — I mean, that’s not somebody who’s going to prevent a war, that’s somebody who’s going to get us in a war,” Haley said. “And that kind of rhetoric was unhinged.” (read more, including background info on NATO and the issue or delinquent countries)

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