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Trump: I said NATO was obsolete 'not knowing much about NATO'

Posted by on Apr. 24, 2017 at 1:47 PM
  • 19 Replies

President Donald Trump says he referred to NATO as "obsolete" during his presidential campaign because he didn't know "much" about the organization at the time since he was new to politics.

Trump recalled in an interview with the Associated Press on Friday that when he was first asked about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by CNN's Wolf Blitzer, he was caught off guard because he "wasn't in government" so never had to learn about the US-led defense alliance.

"People don't go around asking about NATO if I'm building a building in Manhattan, right?" Trump said, according to the AP's transcript.

"So they asked me, Wolf ... asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO's obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, 'And the reason it's obsolete is because of the fact they don't focus on terrorism.' You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism."

Trump reiterated that NATO was "obsolete" in January, in an interview conducted with the Times of London and Bild newspapers published just three days before he took office. That interview prompted an immediate reaction from German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who told reporters in Berlin that Europeans had "our destiny in our own hands."

"I will continue to work to ensure that the 27 member states work together effectively and, above all, in a forward-looking way," she said, adding that Trump's positions had "been known for a while."

In a joint press conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg earlier this month, however, Trump appeared to reverse his position, referring to his earlier comments and telling reporters that NATO "is not obsolete." He added that he and Stoltenberg had a "productive discussion about what more NATO can do in the fight against terrorism."

"I complained about that a long time ago, and they made a change and now they do fight terrorism," Trump said.

The organization, however, did invoke its collective-defense clause in response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. NATO commanded the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan for over a decade, and it launched a new training program in February for Iraqi security forces to counter the Islamic State.

Trump reiterated in his interview with the AP that he thought it was "not fair" that the US was paying the agreed-upon amount on defense while other member nations were not.

http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-nato-obsolete-2017-4

by on Apr. 24, 2017 at 1:47 PM
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Replies (1-10):
francee89
by Gold Member on Apr. 24, 2017 at 1:50 PM
4 moms liked this

So rather than either:

1) educating himself properly so he was qualified to share an opinion, which one probably should do when running for President

or

2) saying he couldn't offer a stance based on his current knowledge, like a rational adult

He decided to call it "obsolete", repeatedly, while not knowing and not bothering to learn about it. Nobody knew international military relations could be so complicated. 

PPCLC
by Lisa on Apr. 24, 2017 at 1:52 PM
2 moms liked this

Well pardon me but.........*thud*

The man actually owned that he "didn't know much" about something.

We need to pause, even briefly, for the moment that this takes us to. It will be fleeting but still....

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Apr. 24, 2017 at 1:56 PM

A guide to Trump's past comments about NATO

President Donald Trump met on Wednesday with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the White House. Past meetings between American presidents and NATO leaders have seldom seen such a contentious lead-in. 

Despite words of praise for NATO at their joint news conference, Mr. Trump has repeatedly questioned NATO’s purpose and efficacy, calling it “obsolete,” while charging that the United States is saddled with paying an unfair share as a member. It was one of Mr. Trump’s most consistent messages in the months preceding his election. But if his views are strongly held, they’re relatively newly formed. The only mention of NATO on his Twitter feed before he hit the campaign trail was a single 2012 tweet lamenting that Israel, not a NATO member, was excluded from a NATO gathering in Chicago.

Here’s a comprehensive look at Mr. Trump’s past comments about the military alliance. 

March 21, 2016 -- then-candidate Trump meets with the Washington Post’s editorial board. He describes NATO as an anachronism from a more affluent American time:

“NATO was set up at a different time. NATO was set up when we were a richer country. We’re not a rich country anymore. We’re borrowing, we’re borrowing all of this money...NATO is costing us a fortune and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO but we’re spending a lot of money. Number one, I think the distribution of costs has to be changed. I think NATO as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved.”

March 21, 2016 -- Trump participates in a CNN town hall later the same day. He’s asked directly about NATO by host Wolf Blitzer, and again cites the costs to the U.S.

CNN’s Blitzer: Do you think the United States needs to rethink U.S. involvement in NATO?

Trump: Yes, because it’s costing us too much money. And frankly they have to put up more money. They’re going to have to put some up also. We’re playing disproportionately. It’s too much. And frankly it’s a different world than it was when we originally conceived of the idea. And everybody got together.

March 26, 2016 -- Trump is interviewed by the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and David Sanger. The Times reported that he wished to refocus NATO on counterterrorism:

“Mr. Trump struck similar themes when he discussed the future of NATO, which he called “unfair, economically, to us,” and said he was open to an alternative organization focused on counterterrorism.”

March 27, 2016 -- Trump sends one of his earliest campaign-season tweets about NATO: 

April 2, 2016 -- Trump doubles down on NATO criticism at a Racine, WI campaign rally, but admits he’s only a recent study on the NATO topic: 

“I said here’s the problem with NATO: it’s obsolete. Big statement to make when you don’t know that much about it, but I learn quickly.”

April 8, 2016 -- “Looks like I was right about NATO,” Trump tweets, linking to a Foreign Policy article about other Republican senators arguing over NATO allies’ laggardly defense spending: 

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Apr. 24, 2017 at 1:57 PM

June 6, 2016 -- Trump repeats his charge that the military alliance is obsolete, and points out that they are appointing a new intelligence chief, insinuating that his criticism prompted the move: 

July 17, 2016 -- Trump and running mate Mike Pence are interviewed by CBS News’ Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes; she asked Trump to explain how he would tackle the fight against ISIS as president. NATO was invoked: 

“We’re going to have surrounding states and, very importantly, get NATO involved because we support NATO far more than we should, frankly, because you have a lot of countries that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

July 20, 2016 -- Trump is, again, interviewed by the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and David Sanger at the Republican National Convention:

“If we cannot be properly reimbursed for the tremendous cost of our military protecting other countries, and in many cases the countries I’m talking about are extremely rich...we have many NATO members that aren’t paying their bills.”

July 20, 2016 -- Trump softens his rhetoric, somewhat, on NATO; in a tweet, he does not refer to the military alliance “obsolete,” instead calling for fellow members to “pay their bills”: 

January 15, 2017 -- in a joint interview, post-election, pre-inauguration, with the Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump reflects on his “obsolete” comment, but insists he was both correct and vindicated: 

“I took such heat, when I said NATO was obsolete. It’s obsolete because it wasn’t taking care of terror. I took a lot of heat for two days. And then they started saying Trump is right.”

February 6, 2017 -- Trump, as president and commander-in-chief, addresses military officials at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fl. after a visit with United States Central Command. He says of NATO: 

“We strongly support NATO, we only ask that all NATO members make their full and proper financial contribution to the NATO alliance, which many of them have not been doing.”

LGAll65215
by on Apr. 24, 2017 at 2:30 PM
Yikes ---you're so right.

When he was campaigning and said NATO was obsolete I was astounded at his idiocy.
At least he admitted he knew nothing but at the same time he's revealing how little he knew or knows about being the leader of America.
And that's not good.
He should not have run at all .


Quoting francee89:

So rather than either:

1) educating himself properly so he was qualified to share an opinion, which one probably should do when running for President

or

2) saying he couldn't offer a stance based on his current knowledge, like a rational adult

He decided to call it "obsolete", repeatedly, while not knowing and not bothering to learn about it. Nobody knew international military relations could be so complicated. 

LGAll65215
by on Apr. 24, 2017 at 2:33 PM
1 mom liked this
😄. Yes!


Quoting PPCLC:

Well pardon me but.........*thud*

The man actually owned that he "didn't know much" about something.

We need to pause, even briefly, for the moment that this takes us to. It will be fleeting but still....

PinkButterfly66
by Platinum Member on Apr. 24, 2017 at 2:34 PM
2 moms liked this

And this is why you don't elect a complete and utter moron into the highest office of the country.  

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Apr. 24, 2017 at 2:35 PM

good

Quoting PinkButterfly66:

And this is why you don't elect a complete and utter moron into the highest office of the country.  


lwalker270
by Silver Member on Apr. 24, 2017 at 2:36 PM
1 mom liked this

That's a shocker.  

I'm betting NATO is just one of many things he "doesn't know a lot about."

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