Donald Trump has warmed up to NATO, saying he wants the powerful treaty organization to be involved in the fight against ISIS.
‘I like the idea of using NATO and also neighbors that aren’t in NATO and take them out. You gotta take them out,’ Trump told ABC News on Thursday.
‘I don’t want to get too much of ours involved. I want NATO to be involved,’ Trump said. ‘We spend a tremendous amount of money on NATO. We take care of countries that frankly should be taking care of themselves in terms of economically.’
Trump’s comments toward NATO, a cornerstone of U.S. security since the Second World War, come despite highly skeptical comments during the primaries that alarmed members of the Republican foreign policy establishment.
Treaty: Donald Trump told ABC’s Tom Llamas he wants NATO to be involved in the campaign against ISIS
‘I think NATO is obsolete,’ Trump told ABC News in March. ‘NATO was done at a time you had the Soviet Union, which was obviously larger — much larger than Russia is today.’
Trump added that NATO should be ‘readjusted to take care of terrorism.’
He took flack for the comment from some of his Republican rivals, including Florida senator Marco Rubio.
Hillary Clinton blasted Trump’s NATO pronouncements in her attack speech on his foreign policy in June. ”This is a man who said that more countries should have nuclear weapons, including Saudi Arabia. This is someone who has threatened to abandon our allies in NATO… he believes we can treat the U.S. economy like one of his casinos and default on our debts to the rest of the world,’ Clinton said.
In recent weeks, several prominent members of the foreign policy establishment have come out against Trump. Among them are longtime diplomat Richard Armitage, who served in three Republican administrations and said he supports Clinton.
A Polish army soldier sits in a tank during NATO exercises in Poland
A Romanian pilot stands next to a U.S. F-22 Raptor participating in a NATO mission to counter Russia’s intervention in Ukraine
British troops participate in a NATO operation in Estonia in May
A Polish F-16 flies over Poland during a NATO war games exercise
He joined a list of more than 70 Republican foreign policy experts who signed a letter against Trump.
Trump made the case for NATO even as he kept his precise plans quiet.
‘I don’t like giving away like – ‘We’re gonna hit them here. We’re gonna hit them there.’ I like to keep it quiet,’ Trump said, ‘We’re going to hit them very hard, it’s very true. It’s very possible that we should use NATO,’ he said.
Earlier this week, Trump amped up his anti-ISIS rhetoric at a speech in Pittsburgh, where he said the U.S. should ‘fight fire with fire.’
‘We have to fight so viciously and violently because we’re dealing with violent people,’ Trump said.
Trump gave the interview to ABC’s Tom Llamas, a reporter he ripped in late May as a ‘sleaze.’