At a campaign rally on Monday night in Pennsylvania, Donald Trump spoke about the United States’ relationship with Russia and how, contrary to popular belief, a more stable one could benefit national security.
The Republican presidential nominee highlighted the importance of improved relations with Putin and Russia by affirming that, since Russia was also in possession of nuclear weapons, it was in the United States’ best interest to stabilize the relationship. Additionally, a stronger bond with Russia could mean help destroying ISIS.
“If we could get Russia to help us get rid of ISIS — if we could actually be friendly with Russia — wouldn’t that be a good thing?”
- Read more: Putin’s Soviet Amibitions on the March in Latin America
- Read more: Trump’s Speech Holds Empty Promises for Minorities, Fact-Checkers reveal
Trump’s remarks regarding Russia and the help it could provide were met with loud cheers of approval from the crowd at the rally. He received even more when he mocked his opponents for criticizing his stance, which not only included opposing candidate Hillary Clinton and her running-mate Tim Kaine, but other Democrats and even Republican party members such as Senator and former 2008 presidential candidate John McCain.
“They said, ‘Putin likes Trump,’” he said. “’How dare he like Putin?’”
Trump also caused controversy by calling NATO all but “obsolete,” claiming he would not necessarily come to the defense of member states in the event of invasion. Instead, he said he would rather decide whether or not to provide any type of aid based on whether the country in question had “paid its dues to the alliance.”
Trump has received further criticism for his comments regarding the Crimea Crisis of 2014.
In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, Trump said of Putin:
“I have my own ideas, okay? He’s not going to go into Ukraine, okay?”
The interviewer, confused, reminded Trump that Russia already had, which led to Trump trying to clarify himself. He later on stated that perhaps Crimea was “better off” with Russia.
The Clinton campaign responded with a comment from senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan:
“What is he talking about? Russia is already in Ukraine. Does he not know that? What else doesn’t he know?”
The senior policy advisor was wary of Trump’s statements regarding his “invitation to the Russians to invade” NATO allies in Eastern Europe.
Regardless of whether or not he truly made a mistake and did not know Russia had already invaded Crimea, what is certain is that Trump is definitely embracing a connection with Putin. After having denied it for a long time, he is accepting it and justifying it in the name of the country’s national security.
What will happen to the relationship between the United States and its NATO allies should Donald Trump be elected as president?
Sources: The New York Times, CNN.