List of Republicans Speaking Out Against Donald Trump’s NATO Comments

Former President Donald Trump sparked bipartisan backlash after saying he would “encourage” Russian President Vladimir Putin to do “whatever the hell” he wants to NATO members who insufficiently contribute financially to the military alliance.

Trump, who remains the front-runner to win the Republican presidential nomination, sparked backlash with his remarks about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) during a campaign rally in South Carolina on Saturday.

Trump appeared to recall a conversation with an unnamed politician he described as “one of the presidents of a big country” and added that the anonymous leader had asked whether the United States would protect the NATO nation if Russia attacked.

“I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’” the former president told the crowd. “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

However, Article 5 of NATO’s charter states that “an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies,” meaning an attack against a NATO state could draw a military response by all others. However, many member states are still not spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense, despite having agreed to that target in 2014.

Trump’s remarks about NATO drew substantial attention, with Democrats and Republicans voicing disagreement. The Republicans who have spoken out against Trump’s NATO remarks are:

  • Former Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming
  • Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky
  • Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina
  • Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
  • Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley
  • Former New Jersey Governor and former GOP presidential candidate Chris Christie.

Newsweek has reached out to Trump’s spokesperson via email for comment.

Cheney, who was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the January 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol building and was vice chair of the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, criticized Trump’s statement in a post to X, formerly Twitter, on Monday morning. She responded by sharing a Semafor article titled, “Republicans shrug off Trump’s NATO comments,” adding that “no honorable American leaders would excuse or endorse” Trump’s remarks.

“NATO is the most successful military alliance in history. It’s essential to deterring war & defending American security. No sane American President would encourage Putin to attack our NATO allies,” she wrote.

Haley, who is trailing Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, said on Monday that Trump’s comments make President Joe Biden sound “sane.”

While appearing on Fox NewsAmerica’s Newsroom, Haley said: “That’s because he [Trump] went off script. That’s because he went off the teleprompter. That’s what you’re gonna get, is unhinged chaos. And that only makes Joe Biden sound…sane,” Haley said.

“When you get Donald Trump making Joe Biden sound sane, it’s more of the reason why Donald Trump can’t defeat Joe Biden. They’re taking everything he’s saying and they’re gonna use it against him.”

According to Reuters, Graham, a close ally of Trump, said in a brief hallway interview that he disagreed “with the way he [Trump] said it,” adding that “Russia didn’t invade anybody when he was president and if he’s president again they won’t.”

Meanwhile, Tillis blamed Trump aides for failing to explain to the former president that the United States, as a NATO member, is committed to defending any member of the alliance that is attacked, according to Politico.

However, Paul said it was a “stupid thing to say,” while Murkowski said it was “uncalled for,” according to Politico.

Newsweek has reached out to Graham’s and Tillis’ office via email for comment.

The Republican opposition to the former president’s remarks came after the White House slammed Trump’s remarks.

“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,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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