The White House has been quick to condemn the actions of former President Donald Trump regarding NATO. “Thanks to President Biden’s experienced leadership, NATO is now the largest and most vital it has ever been,” said spokesman Andrew Bates.
While still in office, Trump had demanded that NATO countries meet the obligation of allocating at least two percent of their GDP for a defense budget and accused member states of taking advantage of American defense and US taxpayers’ money. However, he did not take any real steps against NATO.
The fear is that if Trump is re-elected, he could damage the core of the alliance and encourage Russian President Vladimir Putin to try military moves against his neighbors. European countries have called for strengthening the military dimension of the European Union independently as a backup in case of loss of American support.
Congress approved a section of the defense budget in December that states that a president cannot order a withdrawal from NATO without a two-thirds majority in the Senate. However, commentators have warned that this may not be enough. “It is important that Congress overwhelmingly supports American membership in NATO and that is welcome,” said Ivo Daehler, who was the US ambassador to NATO under President Barack Obama.
During a rally, Trump came out against foreign aid budget proposals currently being debated in Congress, which also includes $14.1 billion in security aid to Israel and $60.1 billion to Ukraine. At Trump’s direction, Republicans continue to block approval of aid on these grounds despite a bipartisan proposal designed to address illegal immigration at the Mexican border having been drawn up in the Senate.
In response to criticism on social media about his son Michael serving in the military, Ivanka Trump defended her husband’s decision by tweeting: “Michael is stationed to serve our country, something you understand nothing about.” She added: “Someone who continues to disrespect the sacrifices of families of military personnel has no ability to be commander-in-chief.”