Turner Defends Trump On NATO: ‘Trump’s Political Rallies Don’t Really Translate Into His Actual Policies’

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) defended former President Donald Trump on Sunday over remarks he recently made about NATO countries needing to pay up if they wanted to be protected against Russian aggression.

Turner made the remarks during an NBC News interview with Kristen Welker on “Meet The Press” in response to Trump saying at a rally earlier this month that he would not protect NATO countries that do not pay their fair share into the NATO alliance.

While campaigning in South Carolina, Trump recalled a moment that he said he had with a president of a NATO country: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. You’re 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. If I said, “Yes, I will. You don’t have to pay. Yes, I will.” Most politicians have said to that, “Yes, we will protect you under any circumstances.” Well, then they’re never paying up. I said, “No, no. You have to understand you don’t pay your bills, you get no protection.” It’s very simple. Hundreds of billions of dollars came into NATO, and that’s why they have money today because of what I did.

When asked if he was “comfortable” with Trump’s comments, Turner responded: “Well, this is what I know. When Donald Trump was president he actually increased funding to NATO itself. He continues to push countries to fully fund, to meet the 2% commitment that each of them have. And I know that his work is important to get increased funding to NATO. You’re already seeing NATO countries begin to spend more as a result of Donald Trump’s words, and I think that’s kind of important.”

When pressed again over whether he was “comfortable” with Trump’s remarks, Turner again fired back: “This is what I know: Donald Trump’s political rallies don’t really translate into Donald Trump’s actual policies. If you look at his policies, if you look at his record, he actually increased funding for NATO, increased the European Reassurance Initiative, and in fact for Ukraine, he was the first president to give lethal weapons to Ukraine. So I think his record is strong, and I think that’s what’s important.”


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