Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday was forced to reassure NATO allies that the United States will support them after his party’s nominee was remarkably hesitant about backing Baltic states in need of defense.
“I disagree with that,” McConnell told Politico of Trump’s comments. “NATO is the most important military alliance in world history. I want to reassure our NATO allies that if any of them get attacked, we’ll be there to defend them.”
He also said that Trump’s view is “wrong” and that it would not “be prevalent or held by anybody he might make secretary of state or secretary of defense.”
McConnall made similar comments to the New York Times and attempted to downplay Trump’s alarming statement.
“I am willing to kind of chalk it up to a rookie mistake,” he said. “I don’t think there is anybody he would choose to be secretary of defense or secretary of state who would have a different view from my own.”
Trump gave a worrisome interview to the New York Times on Wednesday during which he indicated that he may not always be willing to come to the defense of other NATO nations. When asked if he would support Baltic states that are part of NATO in combatting Russian aggression, he said he would only do so after considering whether those countries “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”
The Trump campaign also worked to keep the 2016 Republican platform from including a call to provide arms to Ukraine in order to fight Russian aggression.