Nikki Haley condemned former President Donald J. Trump on Sunday for suggesting that he might not defend NATO allies, and that he might even encourage Russia to attack them, if re-elected.
“Don’t take the side of a thug who kills his opponents,” Ms. Haley said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Don’t take the side of someone who has gone in and invaded a country, and half a million people have died or been wounded because of Putin. Don’t take the side of someone who continues to lie. I dealt with Russia every day. The last thing we ever want to do is side with Russia.”
Ms. Haley was responding to comments Mr. Trump made at a rally on Saturday night, when he recounted a conversation with a foreign leader during his presidency in which he said he might not defend a NATO country against a Russian attack if the country were “delinquent” on funding to the alliance. “No, I would not protect you,” Mr. Trump said he replied. “In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want.”
Though there were disputes during Mr. Trump’s administration over some European countries’ spending commitments to their own militaries, there was no debt owed to the alliance.
When the CBS show’s host, Margaret Brennan, asked whether Ms. Haley would “adhere to the premise that an attack on one is an attack on all” if elected president, Ms. Haley said, “Absolutely.”
“We do want NATO allies to pull their weight, but there are ways you can do that without sitting there and telling Russia, ‘Have your way with these countries,’” she said. “If you notice, Russia has never invaded a NATO country. They’ve invaded Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. They are actually very intimidated by NATO. NATO allows us to prevent war.”