Hillary Clinton’s campaign was quick to criticize Donald Trump’s suggestion that the United States doesn’t have to honor its commitment to offer military support to NATO allies who haven’t paid their debts.
“Republicans, Democrats and Independents who help build NATO into the most successful military alliance in history would all come to the same conclusion: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit and fundamentally ill-prepared to our Commander in Chief,” Clinton’s senior policy adviser, Jake Sullivan, said in a statement released shortly after Trump’s foreign policy interview with The New York Times was published.
“The President is supposed to be the leader of the free world,” Sullivan continued. “Donald Trump apparently doesn’t even believe in the free world.”
Trump said in the Times interview that the United States would only offer assistance to NATO-member Baltic states in the event of an attack from Russia if those countries “fulfilled their obligations to us.”
He repeatedly invoked the debts some of NATO’s 28 members owed, saying the United States couldn’t afford to bankroll military aid to other countries who weren’t paying their dues. This claim flies in the face of Article 5 of the alliance’s treaty, which outlines collective defense as a core responsibility of NATO members.
National security experts warned that Trump’s comments threatened international diplomacy and emboldened Russia to continue launching minor military aggressions against those Baltic states.
Sullivan said it was “fair to assume that Vladimir Putin is rooting for a Trump presidency” in light of his comments about NATO.
He also highlighted the Trump campaign’s successful intervention in the drafting of the 2016 Republican Party platform to water down an amendment that would have provided aid and weapons to Ukraine.
Read Sullivan’s full statement below:
Statement From Jake Sullivan On Trump’s NATO Comments pic.twitter.com/qu2teSUShm
— Jesse Ferguson (@JesseFFerguson) July 21, 2016