U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham criticized Donald Trump for saying the United States may not always defend its NATO allies and called on Trump to correct the statement in his acceptance speech for the GOP presidential nomination.
“Statements like these make the world more dangerous and the United States less safe,” said Graham, a Seneca Republican who withdrew from the GOP presidential nominating race late last year.
In an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, Trump said if Russia attacked small Baltic States that recently entered NATO, he would consider if they “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”
“If they fulfill their obligations to us,” Trump told The Times, “the answer is yes.”
“I can only imagine how our allies in NATO, particularly the Baltic states must feel after reading these comments from Mr. Trump,” Graham said. “I’m 100 percent certain how Russian President (Vladimir) Putin feels – he’s a very happy man.”
Graham said Trump is telling the “Russians and other bad actors that the United States is not fully committed to supporting the NATO alliance,” which the senator called “the most successful organization in modern history to provide collective defense for democracies.”
Graham added that Trump wants to be president, “he needs to better understand the job, which is to provide leadership for the United States and the free world.”
“Mr. Trump has shown the ability to correct statements such as this,” Graham said. “ I hope he will do so tonight when the world is watching.”