Donald Trump’s NATO remarks spark criticism: ‘Unhinged’, ‘risky’

Key Points
  • The White House has described Trump’s latest speech as “unhinged”.
  • NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says any attacks against the NATO alliance should be condemned.
  • Officials from Poland, France and Germany have also shared their opinion on Trump’s recent comments.
Top Western officials criticised former president Donald Trump on Sunday after he suggested the United States might not protect NATO allies who aren’t spending enough on defence from a potential Russian invasion.
“Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk”, said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in a written statement.

“Any attack on NATO will be met with a united and forceful response,” he added, reacting to remarks on Saturday by Trump, who is likely to be the Republican nominee in this year’s US presidential election.

Polish Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz also weighed in.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at a Washington DC press conference about Ukraine

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Donald Trump’s comments “undermines all of our security”. Source: AAP / Lenin Nolly/Sipa USA

Reactions came from across Europe, with Polish Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz saying must remain unified.

“NATO’s motto ‘one for all, all for one’ is a concrete commitment. Undermining the credibility of allied countries means weakening the entire NATO,” he said via a post on X.
“No election campaign is an excuse for playing with the security of the Alliance.”
Article 5 of the NATO treaty says that an armed attack against an alliance member will be considered an attack against them all, triggering collective self-defence.
Trump, speaking during a political rally in South Carolina and appearing to recount a meeting with NATO leaders, quoted the president of “a big country” that he did not name as asking, “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. You gotta pay.”

The EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton attempted to downplay Trump’s statements.
“We have heard that before … Nothing new under the sun”, he said in an interview with France’s LCI network.
“We cannot flip a coin about our security every four years depending on this or that election, namely the US presidential election,” he added, stressing that Europe needs to become more self-reliant.
The White House has also reacted to Trump’s comments, with spokesperson Andrew Bates citing them as dangerous.

“Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged – and it endangers American national security, global stability and our economy at home.”