John Bolton says NATO should be ‘very worried’ about a second Trump term | World | News

NATO should be „very worried“ about a second Donald Trump presidency, according to former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

In an exclusive interview with Daily Express US, Bolton described how his former boss came „within an inch of withdrawing“ during his previous term in the Oval Office. He spoke as NATO leaders met this week for a three-day summit in Washington.

If the US were to leave NATO, experts say it would threaten the destruction of the military alliance and play into the hands of Vladimir Putin.

Trump raised eyebrows in February at a rally in Conway, South Carolina when he said he would encourage Russia to do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO countries that don’t meet spending guidelines on defense.

Of his potential impact, Bolton said: „I think NATO members should be very worried about a second Trump term. In 2018 at the Brussels NATO summit, he came within an inch of withdrawing. He doesn’t like the alliance. He doesn’t understand it.

“He doesn’t understand that the NATO alliance certainly provides additional security for its European members. It also provides security for us. It’s in our national interest to have this alliance.“

Bolton added: “It’s a larger question about how you analyze threats and challenges to the United States around the world. Donald Trump doesn’t understand that. It would be a catastrophic mistake for the United States to leave the alliance.”

Some Americans and Europeans call it “Trump-proofing” NATO, and Bolton added that if Trump is elected in the fall, it would be particularly bad for Ukraine.

Trump-allied congressional Republicans have repeatedly delayed US arms and funding to Ukraine as Russia advances on the battlefield in the war.

Bolton said: “Trump thinks that America’s relations with foreign governments like Russia are roughly equivalent to the personal relationship between the heads of government. So he thinks, if I’ve got a good relationship with Vladimir Putin, then US-Russia relations are good. That’s simply not true.

Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, these are hard men, and they’ve got very clear ideas what they think are in the national interest, respectively, of Russia and China, and they’re not just going to do something to be nice to Donald Trump.

“In fact, I think one of the greatest dangers is that Trump thinks he’s got good relationships with Putin and Xi. He likes to say he and Kim Jong Un of North Korea fell in love. These people look at Trump and think he’s a fool. They think he’s an easy mark. That’s why they want him elected. They think it will weaken the United States.”

This week, Joe Biden has sought to spotlight his commitment to the alliance while making the case to voters that Trump would turn his back on NATO if he were to return to the White House.

Trump has repeatedly criticized fellow NATO members who failed to meet an agreed-upon goal of spending at least two percent of gross domestic product on defense.

President Biden will close out the NATO summit in Washington on Thursday with a rare solo press conference as he attempts to rally Democratic supporters in the aftermath of his dismal debate performance.

Even before the June 27 debate, European governments were deep in consultations on what they could do to ensure the security of individual NATO countries should Trump win back the presidency in November.

Trump has criticized Biden for providing an “endless flow of American treasure” to Ukraine. The Republican more recently has expressed openness to lending money instead and has said Ukraine’s independence is important to the US.

Biden aides have pushed back, noting NATO’s announcement last month that 23 of 32 member nations are hitting the alliance’s defense spending target this year. Nine member nations were meeting the goal when Biden took office from Trump in 2021.

This week’s NATO summit comes at a pivotal moment in the 2024 election as Biden tries to paint a stark contrast between himself and Trump. It remains to be seen if it will work.

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