GOP lawmakers back Trump’s controversial tough talk on NATO: ‘I hope they take it as a real threat’

With foreign aid at the forefront, the former president’s tough talk on NATO drew notable support from members of Congress.

Perpetual efforts to peg former President Donald Trump as a pawn or pal of Russian President Vladimir Putin made a resurgence after some commentary on the campaign trail Saturday. After he suggested that he “would encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to a NATO member that fell short on their bills, several GOP senators stood up to agree.

“I hope they take it as a real threat,” Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance told the Daly Mail. “NATO is, right now, little more than a welfare client of the United States of America.”

“If it’s going to be a real alliance then the big countries within the block, especially Germany, need to step up,” he added to the outlet having conveyed similar sentiments on the Senate floor.

Ahead of a successful establishment effort to advance a nearly $100 billion foreign aid package, Vance had taken the floor to assert how most member nations weren’t meeting their 2% GDP threshold on defense spending.

“Even if we assumed, and it’s wrong, but even if we assumed that NATO was carrying its fair share of the burden over the last 18 months, NATO has failed to carry its fair share of the burden for literally decades, ladies and gentlemen. Look just at how much money the United States has spent on defense since 1992, and compare that to our NATO allies,” he argued.

“Most of the economies of Europe massively underspend on defense,” the Ohio lawmaker said, “and that has invited aggression not just from Vladimir Putin, but from other places as well.”

As had been reported, while campaigning in Conway, South Carolina, Trump had told the gathered supporters about paying their share to NATO, “One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’ He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.'”

“‘No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want,'” expressed the president. “‘You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.'”

Vance wasn’t alone in backing Trump as Missouri Sen. Eric Schmitt told the Mail, “I do think there’s frustration among Americans that our European allies just haven’t stepped up. Most of them aren’t at two percent of their GDP.”

“We’ve essentially subsidized their government liberal social welfare programs for a long time. I think it’s time for [our] European allies to step up,” he continued as Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville suggested, “It’s all sarcasm.”

Leaning into the upper chamber’s leadership ranks, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, expressed blanket favor for NATO, “The Senate, Congress and country is very supportive of NATO, and they’ve shown themselves to be a very strong force.”

“I would hope President Trump would agree with that,” she said to the Mail.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) successfully represented the hyperbole of the left as she commented to the outlet, “For Donald Trump to suggest under any conditions that the United States would support a Russian invasion of Europe is incredibly dangerous, and shows once again how that man is not fit to be president of the United States.”

Her position aligned with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg who had released a statement in response to Trump’s comments Sunday that read, “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.”

“NATO remains ready and able to defend all allies. Any attack on NATO will be met with a united and forceful response,” he continued. “I expect that regardless of who wins the presidential election the U.S. will remain a strong and committed NATO ally.”

Kevin Haggerty

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