Donald Trump has stepped up his attack on Nato, saying he would force member nations to leave the transatlantic security organisation unless they contributed more money to what he said was an “obsolete” defence alliance.
Speaking in Wisconsin ahead of the state’s primary on Tuesday, he went further by saying that NATO’s demise would not be a serious problem. “Its possible that we’re going to have to let NATO go. When we’re paying and nobody else is really paying, a couple of other countries are but nobody else is really paying, you feel like the jerk.”
Mr Trump said that, if elected US president, he would contact many of the other 27 Nato members and put pressure on them to make a larger financial contribution or leave.
“I call up all of those countries . . . and say ‘fellas you haven’t paid for years, give us the money or get the hell out’,” Mr Trump said to loud cheers. “Maybe Nato will dissolve, and that’s OK, not the worst thing in the world.”
Mr Trump has come under harsh criticism over his NATO stance from his Republican rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, and from Hillary Clinton, his likely opponent in November assuming he wins the GOP nomination. Mrs Clinton slammed the tycoon during a separate rally in Eau Claire on Saturday, saying his comments on NATO and other remarks about US allies in Asia were “putting at risk the coalition of nations we need to defeat Isis”.
President Obama is due to meet Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general, in the White House on Monday. The White House said the meeting would include a discussion on how Nato allies were doing in their efforts to tackle Isis.