The White House called "outrageous" a claim by Donald Trump that he would encourage Russians to do "whatever the hell they want" to NATO allies who didn't meet their defense spending commitments.
“Encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes is appalling and unhinged – and it endangers American national security, global stability, and our economy at home,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement on Feb. 11.
“Thanks to President Biden’s experienced leadership, NATO is now the largest and most vital it has ever been.”
Trump, who is known for saying deliberately inflammatory messages to his supporters, made the claim at a campaign rally in South Carolina on Feb. 10.
The former U.S. president and current presidential candidate said that NATO was "busted" until he forced members to "pay up."
Many allies are not meeting their 2014 pledge to invest 2% of their GDP into defense. When he was in office, Trump accused them of taking advantage of the U.S.
Russia has been found to have meddled in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, in favor of Trump. Multiple Russian individuals and state-tied organizations were convicted of interference and multiple Trump associates were convicted of lying under oath.
Russian figures, including the late mercenary leader Yevgeniy Prigozhin have publicly said that the Kremlin meddled in U.S. elections and will continue to do so.