Donald Trump makes headlines for pledging support for Russia against NATO allies and promising a massive deportation operation if he returns in 2024.
He said this on Saturday at a rally in Conway, South Carolina, where he was campaigning for the state’s primary on February 24.
Trump has been critical of NATO, the 31-member military alliance that the US has pledged to defend, and of Ukraine, which has been fighting against a Russian invasion since February 2022.
‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’
The former president claimed that he once told a leader of a large country that he would not help them if they were attacked by Russia because they were “delinquent”.
“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?’” Trump said, adding “I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’”
“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.”
Many political analysts in the US were alarmed by Trump’s remarks, which some doubted ever happened.
“Sounds as if Trump is kind of encouraging Russia to attack our Nato allies,” David Corn, an MSNBC analyst and the Washington DC bureau chief of Mother Jones, said on X (formerly Twitter).
Alyssa Farah Griffin, a conservative commentator, said Trump’s comments were “music” to the ears of Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.
Trump also praised the failure of a bill in Congress that aimed to solve the immigration crisis on the US-Mexico border. The bill was backed by Joe Biden, the current president and Trump’s rival in the 2020 election, which Trump lost. Trump promised that if he won in 2024, he would launch “a massive deportation operation” on his first day in office.
Trump has been doing well in the polls against Biden, despite facing more than 90 criminal charges in different courts. The charges accuse him of trying to overturn the 2020 election, keeping government secrets after leaving office, and paying off a porn star who says she had sex with him.