NATO Chief Admits Donald Trump’s Criticism Is Valid


NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has admitted that former President Donald Trump’s criticism about member states not paying enough into the strategic alliance is valid.

Stoltenberg conceded during a press conference ahead of an alliance meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that many NATO allies were not meeting their financial obligations. Trump recently made the same point before controversially suggesting that he would “encourage” Russia to attack allies who do not pay their share.

On Wednesday, Stoltenberg announced that 18 out of 31 NATO members were hitting their spending target of paying a minimum of 2 percent of GDP into the alliance, an improvement from July 2023, when only 12 members were paying at least the minimum.

“NATO allies not spending enough on NATO… [is] a valid point,” Stoltenberg said. “And it’s a point and the message that has been conveyed by successive U.S. administrations, that European allies and Canada have to spend more because we haven’t seen fair burden sharing in the alliance.”

“The good news is that that’s exactly what NATO Allies are doing,” he continued. “More and more allies are coming closer to 2 percent and promise to be there very soon… This message has had an impact. European allies and Canada have stepped up, and I count on them to continue to do so.”

Newsweek reached out for comment to Trump’s office via email on Wednesday.

During a presidential campaign rally in South Carolina on Saturday, Trump recalled a conversation with a person who he described as “one of the presidents of” a NATO ally.

The unnamed leader had apparently asked Trump if the U.S. would meet its NATO obligation of defending the country against a potential attack from Russia, despite allegedly not having paid the minimum amount into the alliance.

“I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?'” Trump told his supporters on Saturday. “In fact, I would encourage them [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

Stoltenberg quickly responded by admonishing Trump for the remarks, warning that encouraging Russia to potentially attack “delinquent” NATO members would “put American and European soldiers at increased risk.”

President Joe Biden called Trump’s remarks “appalling and dangerous,” arguing that the ex-president intended to give Russian President Vladimir Putin “a green light for more war and violence.”

Several Republicans also spoke out against Trump, including Senators Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Thom Tillis. His 2024 GOP presidential rival Nikki Haley complained during a Fox News interview that Trump was “making Joe Biden sound sane,” calling his remarks “unhinged chaos.”

At 3.49 percent, 2023 NATO figures showed that the U.S. paid the second-highest share of its GDP into the alliance, with Poland paying the largest share at 3.9 percent.

However, as the U.S. has easily the largest GDP of any nation in the world, it provides considerably more absolute funding to NATO than any other member state.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg is pictured during a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on February 14, 2024. Former President Donald Trump is pictured in the inset image. Stoltenberg admitted that Trump’s criticism of NATO members…

Omar Havana; Spencer Platt