Trump Believes NATO Allies Owe Money to the US

Donald Trump, March 6, 2014 (photo: Gage Skidmore)Excerpt from Donald Trump interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press, July 24, 2016.

CHUCK TODD: All right. Let me move to something with NATO. Mitch McConnell said this about your NATO remarks in the New York Times. He said it was a rookie mistake, and that once you, let me finish the comment here. “It’s a rookie mistake, and it proves that Trump needs people like us around to help steer him in the right direction on some basic things….”

DONALD TRUMP: If he said that, he’s 100 percent wrong. And frankly it’s sad. We have NATO, and we have many countries that aren’t paying for what they’re supposed to be paying, which is already too little, but they’re not paying anyway. And we’re giving them a free ride or giving them a ride where they owe us tremendous amounts of money. And they have the money. But they’re not paying it. You know why? Because they think we’re stupid

CHUCK TODD: So Estonia is paying, and if they get invaded by Russia, you’re there?

DONALD TRUMP: I feel differently. I feel very differently–

CHUCK TODD: But if a country’s not doing — Britain hasn’t done the two percent.

DONALD TRUMP: We have countries that aren’t paying. Now, this goes beyond NATO, because we take care of– we take care of Japan, we take care of Germany, we take care of South Korea, we take care of Saudi Arabia, and we lose on everything. We lose on everything. If Mitch McConnell says that, then he’s wrong.

So all I’m saying is they have to pay. Now, a country gets invaded, they haven’t paid, everyone says, “Oh, but we have a treaty.” Well, they have a treaty too. They’re supposed to be paying. We have countries within NATO that are taking advantage of us. With me, I believe they’re going to pay. And when they pay, I’m a big believer in NATO.

But if they don’t pay, we don’t have, you know, Chuck, this isn’t 40 years ago. This isn’t 50 years ago. It’s not 30 years ago. We’re a different country today. We’re much weaker, our military is depleted, we owe tremendous amounts of money. We have to be reimbursed. We can no longer be the stupid country.

Image: Donald Trump, March 6, 2014 (photo: Gage Skidmore)