In light of the terrible week that Joe Biden had, it was inevitable that the media would try to drum up some fake controversy about Donald Trump.
In fact, they happily obliged by grossly distorting comments Trump made during a campaign speech in Conway, South Carolina, on Saturday.
“Former President Donald Trump on Saturday said he would encourage Russia to do ‘whatever the hell they want’ to any NATO member country that doesn’t meet spending guidelines on defense in a stunning admission he would not abide by the collective-defense clause at the heart of the alliance if reelected,” reported CNN.
“Former President Donald Trump said Saturday that he wouldn’t protect a NATO nation that didn’t contribute enough defense funds and, instead, he’d ‘encourage’ Russia ‘to do whatever the hell they want,’” echoed ABC News.
Both these characterizations are false. Since when has the media covered Trump accurately?
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg even chimed in following the media reports. “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the U.S., and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk,” he said.
But what did Trump actually say?
Before making the comments about NATO, Trump was discussing the substantial financial commitment the United States had made to Ukraine, surpassing $200 billion, and the disparity between the U.S. contribution and that of European nations, which collectively stands at $25 billion. He said wasn’t fair because the war in Ukraine affects them more directly, and the economy of the United States is roughly equivalent to the size of the collective economy of the European nations.
“I did the same thing with NATO. I got them to pay up. NATO was busted until I came along. I said, ‘Everybody’s gonna pay.’ They said, ‘What if we don’t pay, are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They couldn’t believe the answer. And everybody—you never saw a more money pour in.”
Trump continued by telling a story about why the leaders of NATO countries that owed money finally started contributing again.
“I came in, I made a speech, and they said you got to pay up. They asked me that question. One of the presidents of a big country stood up said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said ‘you didn’t pay your delinquent?’ He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ ‘No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay; you got to pay your bills.’ And the money came flowing in.”
This wasn’t a warning to NATO allies that he’s going to let Russia do “whatever the hell they want.” It was a story about how he got NATO nations to pay their commitments while he was president. As Sen. Marco Rubio explained to CNN’s Jake Tapper, “He used leverage to get people to step up to the plate and become more active in NATO.”
In fact, at the time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised Trump for his leadership and getting NATO allies to fulfill their commitments.
It’s quite clear that the liberal media is trying to switch the narrative after the release of the Hur report and Biden’s disastrous speech last week.
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