Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned that electing former President Donald Trump as president again poses “a national security risk.”
— Steve Ferguson (@lsferguson) February 11, 2024
His remarks came on Sunday during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which anchor Kristen Welker pointed to a speech Trump made about encouraging Russia to attack U.S. allies if they fail to pay enough to keep their defense pact.
During a rally on Sunday, Trump stated, “One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, 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. Say that happened, no, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You have to pay. You have to pay your bills.”
Bringing the speech up, Welker stated, “We’ve got a new set of comments from former President Trump overnight. He basically is recounting a story, conversation he says he had with one of the NATO leaders about paying their fair share in the face of these threats by Vladimir Putin. Let’s take a look, and I’ll get your reaction on the other side.”
In response, Christie took the opportunity to echo his warnings that Trump is not a good choice for the American people.
“This is why I’ve been saying for a long time that he’s unfit to be president of the United States. It’s one thing, and think it’s right for a president to say to a NATO member, hey, you have to pay the dues you need to pay. I think the American people would expect that of a president, but the problem with Donald Trump is he can’t just stop there,” he said.
He added, “He’s got to say I would encourage Russia to do whatever the hell they wanted to you. That is absolutely inappropriate for a president of the United States or a candidate for president of the United States to be saying, but it is consistent with his love for dictators.”
When Welker asked if Trump’s comments “poses a national security risk,” the former GOP presidential candidate stated, “What poses a national security risk is the possibility that he could be president of the United States again. That’s what poses a national security risk because we need to take him at his word, Kristen.”
“And the fact is that as I’ve said earlier, Donald Trump when he came into office in 2016 was scared. He was afraid to be president. He was afraid of mistakes he would make. He knew he was not ready and so as a result he listened to a lot of very good people around him, General Mattis, General Kelly and others about these issues. In a second term, he would not,” he added.
While Trump’s remarks sparked applause and cheers from attendees at the rally, the reaction from Western allies is quite the opposite.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the GOP frontrunner’s remarks in a written statement that read, “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk. Any attack on NATO will be met with a united and forceful response,”
“NATO’s motto ‘one for all, all for one’ is a concrete commitment. Undermining the credibility of allied countries means weakening the entire NATO,” Polish Defence Minister Wladyslaw Kosiniak-Kamysz wrote on X.
President Joe Biden also took the chance to score one over his political rival, as he released a statement, saying, “If my opponent, Donald Trump, is able to regain power, he is making it clear as day that he will abandon our NATO allies if Russia attacks and allow Russia to ‘do whatever the hell they want’ with them.”