As President Donald Trump contends with a resurgence of questions about his connections to Russia, a new report is providing detail on Trump’s thoughts about America’s future relationship the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
New York Times says they’ve spoken to multiple senior administration officials who told them Trump privately talked about having the U.S. withdraw from NATO. Since America is the backbone of the military alliance, pulling out of NATO could effectively dissolve the organization after 70 years of acting as a deterrent for Russia’s international influence.
From the report:
In the days around a tumultuous NATO summit meeting last summer, they said, Mr. Trump told his top national security officials that he did not see the point of the military alliance, which he presented as a drain on the United States.
At the time, Mr. Trump’s national security team, including Jim Mattis, then the defense secretary, and John R. Bolton, the national security adviser, scrambled to keep American strategy on track without mention of a withdrawal that would drastically reduce Washington’s influence in Europe and could embolden Russia for decades.
Trump has considered withdrawal from NATO multiple times in various settings, which fits his distaste for several of America’s most longstanding commitments to international partners. When asked for comment by the Times, a White House official pointed to a series of remarks Trump made in July when he said the NATO alliance was “very important.”
The news about NATO comes days after a series of news bombshells drew renewed interest to Trump’s soft approach to Russia. The Times reported that the FBI launched a counter-intelligence investigation to figure out if Trump secretly worked on Russia’s behalf, plus Washington Post has a report on how Trump apparently tried to conceal the details of his Helsinki meeting with Vladimir Putin last year.
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