President Biden on Tuesday attacked former President Trump for his remarks about encouraging aggression toward “delinquent” NATO members, saying “everything is transactional” for his likely 2024 GOP rival.
Biden slammed Trump while urging the House to reverse course and take up a bipartisan funding measure providing aid to Ukraine, Israel and other allies, which passed the Senate in an early morning vote.
“The stakes were already high for American security before this bill was passed… but in recent days, those stakes have risen and that’s because the former President has set a dangerous and shockingly and frankly, un-American signal to the world,” Biden said.
During a recent rally, Trump told a story of an unidentified foreign leader questioning his threat not to defend members who do not hit the alliance’s defense spending targets. He said he told the leader he would “encourage” Russia to do whatever it wishes and recounted saying, “You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent.”
“Trump gave an invitation to Putin to invade some of our NATO allies,” Biden responded.
“Can you imagine? A former president of the United States saying that? The whole world heard it, and the worst thing is, he means it. No other president in our history has ever bowed down to a Russia dictator,” Biden said. “For God’s sake, it’s dumb, it’s shameful, it’s un-American.”
“NATO is a sacred commitment. Donald Trump looks at this as if it’s a burden, when he looks at NATO he doesn’t see the alliance that protects America and the world, he sees a protection racket,” the president added. “He doesn’t understand that NATO was built on the principles of freedom, security and national sovereignty because for Trump, principles never matter. Everything is transactional.”
Biden added that Article 5, which is the mutual defense provision that any NATO member can invoke if attacked, has only been invoked once: For allies to stand with the U.S. after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
“I know this, I will not walk away. I can’t imagine any other president walking away,” Biden said.
“For as long as I’m president, if Putin attacks a NATO ally, the United States will defend every inch of NATO territory,” he added.
The Senate passed a bill to give $60 billion to Ukraine with 70 votes. The package also includes $14 billion for Israel, $5 billion to help allies in the Indo-Pacific region counter China’s growing influence and $9 billion in humanitarian aid for victims of strife around the globe, including those in Gaza.
“We can’t walk away now, that’s what Putin’s betting on,” Biden said. “Supporting this bill is standing up to Putin, opposing it is playing into Putin’s hands.”
“If we don’t stop Putin’s appetite for power and control in Ukraine, he won’t limit himself just to Ukraine an the cost for America and our allies and partners if going to rise,” he added.
Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) says the Senate bill lacks the tougher border security measures the House Republicans have demanded, a notion that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) rejected Tuesday while pressuring the speaker to take up the bill.
“For Republicans in Congress who think they can oppose funding for Ukraine and not be help accountable, history is watching,” Biden said. “Failure to support Ukraine in this critical moment will never be forgotten.”