President Joe Biden‘s re-election campaign has responded to reports that Donald Trump has plans to withdraw the U.S. from NATO if re-elected.
On Monday, Rolling Stone reported that the ex-president had previously schemed to pull the country out of NATO during his first term, and that the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner is already discussing how he could get it done if elected for a second term in the White House.
Ammar Moussa, a spokesman for Biden’s campaign, told the Washington Examiner that the news emphasized that Trump only “cares about is himself.”
“Donald Trump’s threats to weaken NATO and side with Vladimir Putin undermine America’s strength on the global stage and threaten our national security. As president, Donald Trump spent four years cozying up to dictators and making our country less safe,” said Moussa in a statement, adding, “The idea that he would abandon our allies if he doesn’t get his way underscores what we already know to be true about Donald Trump: The only person he cares about is himself.”
The statement continued, “It’s exactly why Donald Trump shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the Oval Office.”
Vivek Ramaswamy, a largely self-funded GOP candidate with no previous political experience, supported Trump’s idea to pull out of NATO. “It’s a reasonable idea that I have considered,” he said in a statement to Politico about Rolling Stone’s report. Ramaswamy also said that he is “open to reevaluating U.S. involvement in the UN,” but did not say if he plans on following through if elected.
Sources previously told Rolling Stone that when Trump has privately discussed the U.S.’ role in the transatlantic military alliance this year, he made it clear that he doesn’t want the upper ranks of a second administration to be staffed by “NATO lovers.” The former president and his allies are also reportedly plotting how to diminish American involvement to a “standby” position in NATO, as Trump said in his words.
According to sources, Trump would reconsider his stance on the alliance if non-American members increase their defense spending, and if there was a reconsideration of the bedrock principle that an attack on one member is an attack on all.
However, during time in office, Trump repeatedly misunderstood the meaning and purpose of NATO’s collective spending agreements, and mistakenly spoke of the alliance as a kind of protection racket. John Bolton, who had a stint as Trump’s national security adviser, wrote in his memoir that he “could never tell” if Trump genuinely understood NATO’s defense spending requirements.