Biden slams Trump criticism of NATO as ‘shameful’ and ‘un-American’

The Republican frontrunner had questioned the United States’ willingness to support its NATO allies if they were attacked.

United States President Joe Biden speaks about a $95bn aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies being debated in Congress, at the White House, February 13, 2024 [Evan Vucci/AP]

United States President Joe Biden has condemned comments about NATO by his likely 2024 election opponent and former President Donald Trump as “dangerous” and “un-American”, and said they raised the stakes for the US Congress to approve new funding to support Ukraine.

Speaking at the White House, the Democratic president on Tuesday criticised Trump’s comment over the weekend calling into question the US’s willingness to support members of the Western defence alliance if they were attacked.

Biden said the comments by Trump, the Republican frontrunner in the presidential race, made it more urgent that Congress pass his long-stalled funding request to support Ukraine in its war against Russia.

“The stakes were already high for American security before this bill was passed in the Senate,” he said. “But in recent days, those stakes have risen. And that’s because the former president has sent a dangerous, and shockingly, frankly un-American signal to the world.”

At a rally in the state of South Carolina on Saturday Trump blasted what he called “delinquent” payments by NATO members and recounted what he said was a past conversation with the head of “a big country” about a potential attack by Russia.

“No, I would not protect you. In fact I would encourage them [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay,” Trump claimed he told the unnamed leader.

Biden said Trump’s remarks amounted to an invitation to Russia to invade US allies.

“Can you imagine a former president of the United States saying that? The whole world heard it. And the worst thing is he means it,” Biden said.

“No other president in our history has ever bowed down to a Russian dictator. Well, let me say this as clearly as I can: I never will.”

In remarks calling for Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring a Senate-passed $95.34bn military aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan to a vote in the House of Representatives, Biden said of Trump’s comments: “For God’s sake, it’s dumb, it’s shameful, it’s dangerous, it’s un-American.”

Failing to support Ukraine war funding would amount to support for Vladimir Putin, Biden said, adding that the Russian president’s attacks may move beyond Ukraine’s borders deeper into Europe.

NATO, a military alliance of 29 European and two North American countries, has a provision in its statute that says it must defend any member that is attacked.

This is not the first time Trump has criticised the alliance.

When president, Trump threatened to pull the US out of NATO. He also suggested he could cut Washington’s funding of the organisation, and repeatedly complained that the US pays more than it should.

As the war in Ukraine nears its second year, concerns have mounted over the ramifications of a potential Trump victory in November.

While Ukraine is not a NATO member, the alliance has served as a key contributor to the US-organised effort to support Kyiv’s military defences.

Source: News Agencies