Outgoing Dutch PM to Western allies: stop whining about Trump

Trump, who is making another bid for a second term, sparked significant controversy this month when he recounted a story demonstrating his aggressive negotiation tactics with other world leaders to secure support for the NATO alliance.

Outgoing Dutch PM to Western allies: stop whining about Trump
AP Photo/Omar Havana
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Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a leading candidate for the next NATO leadership position, urged Western partners to cease worrying about the potential comeback of former President Donald Trump to the White House.

“We should stop moaning and whining and nagging about Trump,” Rutte said to the Munich Security Conference, as reported by Reuters. He added, “It’s up to the Americans. I’m not an American, I cannot vote in the U.S. We have to work with whoever is on the dance floor.”

Trump, who is making another bid for a second term, sparked significant controversy this month when he recounted a story demonstrating his aggressive negotiation tactics with other world leaders to secure support for the NATO alliance.

During an event in South Carolina, Trump discussed how he managed to turn around NATO, which he described as “busted,” by pressuring allied nations to boost their defense spending to meet the minimum guideline of investing 2% of GDP in defense.

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and 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 gotta pay,” Trump said.

Some interpreted Trump's remarks to imply that he might permit the United States to shirk its obligations under Article 5, or even support Russia in the event of an attack. However, the former president clarified that his aim is to ensure NATO allies “equalize” their contributions.

Rutte, viewed as a frontrunner to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as NATO's secretary general later this year, shared his perspective with the German news outlet Deutsche Welle, stating, “Let's stop moaning, nagging, and whining about Trump” since the 2024 election is yet to occur.

“We need to invest in our defense expenditure. We need to massively ramp up arms production, and we need to massively do more in support to Ukraine,” Rutte said. “This has nothing to do with Trump,” he continued, adding later how allies should “be making sure that our defense is at maximum capacity.”

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