The leaders of Germany and Poland ripped former President Donald Trump on Monday for threatening not to defend NATO members who don’t fulfill their obligations to the alliance — although one of the pols later noted his country will start ponying up the dough.
“NATO’s promise of protection is without restriction: all for one, one for all. Any relativisation of the mutual defence guarantee is irresponsible and dangerous,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a statement.
“Nobody is allowed to play or do deals with Europe’s security. We will strengthen NATO for the security of Europe,” he said without naming Trump directly, although it was clear who he was addressing.
Scholz later confirmed his country’s continuing plan to ramp up its defense spending dramatically to fulfill its NATO obligation, which he mentioned last year.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk also ripped Trump over his comments, although his country is already fulfilling its obligation.
“These words of Donald Trump should have the effect of a cold shower for all those who constantly underestimate this increasingly real threat Europe is facing,” Tusk said, according to Bloomberg.
“We need to increase our defense capabilities and the European part of NATO is particularly determined on this matter.”
During a rally in Conway, SC, on Saturday, Trump dusted off his well-worn grievances with NATO, grousing about how most members don’t spend the required 2% of their gross domestic product on defense.
“I said, ‘Everybody’s gonna pay.’ They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay, are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They couldn’t believe the answer,” Trump claimed during the rally.
Trump then alleged that “one of the presidents of a big country” asked him if the US would back them up from Russia if they “don’t pay.
“ ‘ No, I would not protect you,’ ” Trump recalled replying. “ ‘In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.’ ”
In 2022, only seven of NATO’s then-30 member nations fulfilled their 2% threshold, according to its annual report released last year. Finland has since ascended into the alliance, bringing the membership up to 31.