February 11, 2024

Did The Guardian properly paraphrase Trump here: "Donald Trump says he would encourage Russia to attack Nato allies who pay too little."

I'm skeptical. 

Let's find the actual quote in the text of the article. By the way, I watched the rally last night, and I heard the line in context and reacted at the time. I think I said something like "Did Trump just say he told Russia to attack NATO countries?"

I wish I'd rewound and made my own transcription at the time and blogged it fresh, but I will do with this Guardian article:

On Saturday, Trump claimed that during an unspecified Nato meeting he told a fellow head of state that the US under his leadership would not defend any countries who were “delinquent”.

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’” Trump said, adding “I said, ‘You didn’t pay, you’re delinquent?’”

“No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You got to pay. You got to pay your bills.”

1. It may have been said during a private meeting, but he's repeating it out loud, so Russia can hear it.

2. The statement, in context, is made to pressure the president of France to pay up, and, as the story is retold, it was in response to the French president, who revealed that he was counting on us to protect his country whether he paid or not. One might say, this is "art of the deal" back-and-forth, showing Trump is a tough negotiator, and who knows if he's bluffing? The point is, you don't want to find out. But, of course, it's a distressingly big-stakes bluff. That's how Trump does it. And we know that Trump got the payments. 

3. The Guardian's headline is a fair paraphrase, and you can love or hate Trump based on his actual words.

4. I said "the president of France" because he said the country is "big" and he used the title "president" rather than "prime minister" or "chancellor." But I see that a few other "big" countries have a leader called a "president" — Turkey, Poland, Finland. And I don't know how precise Trump is about these titles. I'm just picturing the conversation and seeing Macron (AKA "Mitterrand").


67 comments:

Drago said...

I am reposting a very succinct response to this smear that I used from the other thread:

Lets let Konstantin Kisin, no fan of Trump, respond to this particular smear:

Konstantin Kisin on X:
"Oh great, we're in the "Don't make me defend Trump against your blatant lies" season again.

Several mainstream media outlets are angrily (or happily?) promoting the idea that he said he wouldn't defend NATO allies and would let Russia do whatever it wanted.

They're deliberately omitting the context which is that he was talking about a meeting with NATO allies in which he was encouraging them to meet their obligations to fund NATO.

Of course, in a negotiation in which you are trying to get the other parties to pay their fair share of their defence spending you would threaten to not defend them if they don't.

Trump was 100% right about the need for European countries to meet their NATO spending commitments. It is their failure to do so, not Trump, that helped to provoke Putin's invasion by signalling weakness.

Trump is human. Moreover, he is frequently wrong and makes mistakes like other humans. He should be criticised for them. But to lie about him so blatantly in a world in which we can all go and check the facts will only help him.

Stop making us defend Trump you fucking loons."

https://twitter.com/KonstantinKisin/status/1756610269176889421?t=3fXAPh5zlWk2Gn69ddBPng&s=19

traditionalguy said...

All propaganda all the time. Boring as hell.

gilbar said...

Serious Question..
*IF* France is Not willing to pay to protect France.. WHY should the bill be on *US* ??

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ampersand said...

Who will damage my country less? Still not a hard choice.

gilbar said...

WHY are we still in NATO, anyway?
WHY is it, that NATO still exists?
How many military actions has NATO STARTED? How many have they prevented?
Why are we paying for this?

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

Trump's clumsy speaking style is beloved by his fans.
The rest of us... not so much.

It's a good idea to let Nato nations know- they need to pony up their fair share. come on - that was the deal. Trump's strange speaking style is a non-stop gift to his enemies.

Rand Paul came out clear and concise on why and why he was "never Nikki."
Trump just calls her a bird brain.

I know who I'd prefer as president.

John henry said...

Why is the US I nato at all?

Yeah, I know, in case of another European war. But that begs the question of what business we have getting involved in European wars.

We've saved their asses twice. We don't need to do it a third time.

John Henry

n.n said...

Obama in Iraq. Biden in Afghanistan. Liberals in corporations. Progressives without borders. The Guardian of climate change.

Narayanan said...

are the delinquent NATO countries over-playing their hands [memberships]
- just as Putin described Poland during WW2? and
- Trump refusing to be Chamberlain!

tim in vermont said...

Here is the video: https://twitter.com/highbrow_nobrow/status/1756448411182641288

The Trumpworld response is that if Europe had maintained its defenses at a serious level, they would not be fretting about a Russian attack right now. And in fact, Putin never attacked Ukraine while Trump was POTUS. It wasn't Trump who followed a policy of antagonizing Moscow over Ukraine, either, it was Joe Biden, first as VP, then as POTUS

Does anybody remember how weird it was at first that Dick Cheney, long-time neocon became Bush's VP and wielded so much power, and then that Joe Biden, long-time neocon, somehow became Barrack Obama's VP, and also wielded so much power. Then for four glorious years, there was no neocon at the top of the US political system and the whole media and political elite went ape-shit?

Yancey Ward said...

You should be under no obligation to protect a free-loader. Normal Americans understand this, so it takes an "intellectual" to not understand it.

Big Mike said...

Trump is a tough negotiator, and who knows if he's bluffing? The point is, you don't want to find out.

OMG! Even a university professor gets it!

rhhardin said...

It's a humorous way to get NATO to pay up.

Tom T. said...

The headline is utterly fraudulent, in that it ignores the distinction between active and passive. Trump said nothing that amounts to affirmative encouragement. Ann, this time I can't imagine what you're thinking.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I doubt the conversation that Donald Trump describes actually happened. If it did, he’s taking considerable liberties in the description. As to the country, I would guess Poland, but I note that pretty much all the NATO members who don’t have monarchs have presidents. It wasn’t Finland, they didn’t become a member of NATO until last year. France seems unlikely, Macron is not the insecure type.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

When people mishear something, as a general rule, I believe the fault lies with the people mishearing something.

With Trump, it seems to be the reverse. Trump needs to speak more clearly. He needs to speak somewhere around middle school level. Stop using big words. ☺️

Original Mike said...

" ‘Well, sir, if we don’t pay, and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’"

First off, it takes a lot of arrogance to ask that question. Secondly, turn it around. What's Trump supposed say, 'Yes, we'll protect you even though you didn't protect yourself'? Trump said what he had to say. Now, if it actually happened, what does the US do? That depends a lot on the circumstances, I imagine. But why the hell is France taking this position?

Mason G said...

"But, of course, it's a distressingly big-stakes bluff. That's how Trump does it."

"How Trump does it"? He's not the only party to the deal here. The countries that haven't been paying what they agreed to are also involved in this bluff- they're saying "We're not paying, what are you going to do about it?" Instead of bowing his head and saying "Aw, shucks- the American will pick up the tab. Again.", he's saying FAFO. About time, if you ask me.

Kevin said...

You don’t buy the insurance policy, you don’t get the coverage.

mikee said...

Telling NATO to pay their agreed upon share of budgets for their own defense seems, like, just not playing nicely, man.

Gunner said...

Who on Earth seriously thinks Russia is going to attack France? They can't even subdue their corrupt neighbor.

Howard said...

The GOP is the official sponsor of Vladimir Putin. Dance all you want, but you love Trump more than the United States of America. The good thing is you are a slight minority, maybe 25% of the GOP.

tim in vermont said...

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/01/27/nato-chief-credits-trump/2695799002/

NATO chief credits Trump's pressure for increasing NATO funding by $100 billion, from 2019

John henry said...

Some large percentage, I think in the 50-60% range, of US homes are protected by volunteer fire departments. That is, fire departments that receive little or no tax money other than fees for protection of govt buildings and property. Manned largely by volunteers, paid mostly by donations, bake sales and other voluntary fund raising.

In the 60s, every town in Fairfax County VA, then as now, the wealthiest county in the US, had volunteer fire departments. Including wealthy McClean, home of Kennedys, Mars and other top 1 percenters. Apparently this is still the case https://fcvfra.org/about-us/member-departments/

This raises the question, is a homeowner who does not contribute entitled to volunteer fire department protection?

Perhaps 10-15 years ago there was a case in some town where the volunteer fire department refused to protect a home that had not paid. They did come out to prevent the spread of the fire but let the home burn to the ground.

The homeowner sued and lost on the grounds that they were not entitled to fire protection they had not paid for.

Why should NATO members be entitled to support if they have not paid their dues?

Can anyone here make a moral case for PEDJT being wrong? (Assuming that he actually said the US would not roll out for a country that does not pay)

I hope he did say that. It seems to me to be the correct position for the US to take as a NATO member. I still don't think we should be a member, though.

John Henry

Jersey Fled said...

All this time and you still don’t understand Trump?

In a negotiation, you always start with a ridiculous offer. Like “I wouldn’t give you two cents for that property”. Or, “This property I’m using for collateral is worth at least $10 million.”. It’s just a place setter. Both sides understand that. It’s taught in Negotiations 101.

It’s the underlying concept that’s important. In this case, he’s telling our NATO allies that it’s time to pay up. They understand that. And I guarantee you Putin does too.

Only American liberals don’t. Or maybe don’t want to.

Joe Smith said...

Hey France, nice country you got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it...

: )

Pete said...

Why on earth would anyone pay their bills if they knew they could get away without paying? This is standard negotiating practice - make the other side believe you are not bluffing. Although diplomats like to sound reasonable in public, I'm sure a lot of the backroom discussion is this hardball stuff - at least I hope that's what we do.

Sebastian said...

Whatever the hell they want is a little rough. But I suspect Mitterand got the point. No more free riding.

Except that the "allies" assume, correctly, that we want to remain the dominant power and that, when the time comes, it is in our interest to stand by them. So Trumpian bluster can only take you so far.

Mary Beth said...

Do we have any intel that says Russia is planning on attacking France? Is "I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want" worse than saying you'll ignore a minor incursion? On it's face, yes, but given the threat level that Ukraine was under versus the threat level France is under, I'd say no.

I don't believe Trump would actually tell Russia to do whatever it wants in attacking a delinquent country. (But, I wouldn't be surprised if he told them that.) I do think they should pay up, though.

Is it really a big stakes bluff? No one has to tell Russia who has paid and who hasn't.

Owen said...

I think it is best to understand Trump using the decoder ring from early in his tenure as President: take him seriously, not literally.

Temujin said...

You do know that's why Tucker Carlson was in Russia to talk with Putin, don't you? He's there to close the deal on Trump with Putin. To get Putin to back Trump in the coming election.

Lord knows it's not easy to get the Russia vote and Carlson is out in front of the effort for the Trump people.

Sorry...I'm just trying to think what might be going through the heads at MSNBC from that quote. Many people on the left have a hard time disseminating Trump's hyperbole and his Realspeak. His blathering and his 'let's get down to business' talk. It's actually not hard unless you make it hard.

tim in vermont said...

It's an interesting framing that the only people who 'love America" are the ones who support constantly poking a country with 6,000 nukes.

Hauptfrau said...

Actually my guess would be that the "president" would be Ursula von Leyen, EC president, in 2020. Nearly private conversation. Even Trump knows she's German, and I suspect he wouldn't make the distinction, EC vs Germany (he said "you Germans" to her) especially for a rally speech. Sorry, I can't link right now, but see Politico article Jan. 10, 2024. The article is probably omitting some details (they did say reaction was basically, "wow, maybe we better increase defense, because we could be on our own" etc.), but Trump's warning to not come to the defense of "delinquent" members is consistent with what he's said for a long time. e.g., a 2016 NYT times interview with candidate Trump involving a delinquent Baltic states hypothetical, which supposedly resulted in those countries increasing defense spending.

Also, Trump seems to have an extra level of dislike for Germany, see his 2017(?) talk around the conference table with all the NATO heads, complaining to Stoltenburg(?) about Germany needing our defense spending when they build the pipeline, become dependent on Russia and make Russia richer so it can attack them. Have to say I agreed with Trump on that one. This is from someone who was assigned there for 5 years and still love the place. Still visit twice a year and will add that the attitude of most highly educated (iow elitist) Germans on this point is disgraceful and hypocritical. IOW they will be victims of the Fascist (yes, they go there) US Republicans if this happens. Even though they're richest country in Europe in ways that matter and can afford to pay for defense; they'd just rather not.

stlcdr said...

Since there's no such thing as international law, If you want to make one (NATO) then you'd better pay your bills. The 'or else' is implied, but Trump is saying that part out loud.

MartyH said...

France was a founding member of NATO but more or less withdrew from the military portion of the alliance from ~1966 to 2009.

Americans are becoming increasingly isolationist, ad Trump may be signaling his support.

Meanwhile, Europeans are acting as if a war with Russia is imminent. Britain says it may need to reinstitute the draft; Germany is permanently deploying troops outside the country for the first time since WWII. I saw a headline saying the Europe expects a Russian invasion within five years.

If Russia can't take even Ukraine they'd have a hell of a time taking any NATO territory with or without US support.

tim in vermont said...

Anybody who does not believe that Putin stole the '16 election for Trump hates America.

John said...

The best part is that since 1990, the UK has lost about 3%, Canada about 11%, and the EU area about 8% in relative purchase power parity per capita GDP to the US, even while the US has been paying for their defense.

1990 PPP 2017 $ (relative to US):
US $40,500 (1.00)
UK $30,660 (0.757)
Can $34,560 (0.854)
EU $32,702 (0.808)

2022 PPP 2017 $ (relative to US)
US $64,620 (1.00)
UK $47.590 (.736)
Ca $48,970 (0.757)
EU $41,640 (0.743)

Source: World Bank Development Indicators:
GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2017 international $)
NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.KD

Readering said...

The thing about Trump is, he just says stuff.

Rich said...

“You’ve got to pay. You’ve got to pay your bills.” ~ Donald Trump

Funny stance from someone known not to pay his own…

Welcome news for Putin here. He’s really getting his money’s worth…

Ignorance is Bliss said...

The Guardian's headline is a fair paraphrase, and you can love or hate Trump based on his actual words.

It is not a fair paraphrase. You cannot encourage something that has already happened, and the scenario being discussed is what would the US do in response to a Russian attack.

David53 said...

France has over 300 nuclear weapons deployed. Under what circumstances would they be inclined to use them if America wasn’t a NATO member?

Just a thought.

John said...

Suppose the question were phrased this way. If the US were attacked, would France be able to come to our aid?

Narayanan said...

old saying > A fool and his money are soon parted
======
more accurate for USA fools > A fool and his life are soon parted [in WW 1,2,3, etc] by lyign political leaders

Narayanan said...

Only American liberals don’t. Or maybe don’t want to.
========
by giving Euro Nato a free ride liberals/D's can use them for corruption pipeline for aid/defense $$$ recycle

loudogblog said...

It's obviously a joke.

Mark said...

Trump is not worse than Hitler as the anti-Trumpers and NeverTrumpers and Dems say he is.

But for all those insisting we need to vote (a THIRD time) for Trump to stop Biden, with him saying and thinking crap like this, many might start to think that Trump is worse than Biden.

Drago said...

Left Bank of the Charles: "I doubt the conversation that Donald Trump describes actually happened."

Morgan Freeman Narrator Voice: Of course, Left Bank has been a consistent purveyor of the thousand New Soviet Democratical hoaxes perpetrated on the American people over the last 8 years so his recently expressed concern about things that "actually happened" are quite amusing.

tolkein said...

Might have been Germany. They were praised by left media for mocking Trump's warnings about Nordstream and Germany being too dependent on Russian gas.
And Germany was spending 1.2% of GDP on defence (France & Uk were meeting the 2% target). Media were silent about Germany's foreign aid budget (0.3%) of GDP and attacked plans to cut UK overseas aid from 0.7% of GDP to 0.5% temporarily.
Why should rich countries freeload on US (and UK)?

n.n said...

Shared responsibility requires equitable and inclusive participation or you risk getting Obamacares that is a first-order forcing of progressive corruption, prices, and availability.

Milo Minderbinder said...

Why would Trump have to encourage on this issue?

n.n said...

America helps those nations that help themselves is a bipartisan commitment.

Big Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rusty said...

Gunner said...
"Who on Earth seriously thinks Russia is going to attack France? They can't even subdue their corrupt neighbor."
France isn't part of NATO. Eastonia, however, is. Stalin convinced the Baltic states to "let Russia defend them". The defense was worse than the Nazis. They don't want it to happen again.

Hassayamper said...

He's more of a globalist than me.

I'd walk out of NATO and all other foreign entanglements, and allow the Eurotrash to deal with the tender mercies of Putin and Xi and the Muslim hordes all by themselves.

In fact I would support a Constitutional amendment to forbid any armed member of our military (other than Navy sailors at sea, and Marine embassy guards) to leave our borders, except for 2-year periods in times of formally declared war.

I'd support another to permanently abolish every penny of foreign aid to any country. Let them pass the hat amongst private citizens if the cause is so noble.

Concomitantly with starting to mind our own business as a nation for the first time since the Wilson administration, surely we can begin to dismantle the CIA and all the other tools of neoliberal tyrants and imperialists.

These things sound radical, but in my view they are bound to happen sooner or later, as our national debt is going exponential and we face the prospect of a complete Zimbabwe-style financial collapse.

Leland said...

First off, it takes a lot of arrogance to ask that question. Secondly, turn it around.

This^^^^

Drago said...

Virginia Lawyer Mark: "But for all those insisting we need to vote (a THIRD time) for Trump to stop Biden, with him saying and thinking crap like this, many might start to think that Trump is worse than Biden"

Once again, Virginia Lawyer Mark accepts, without apparently any critical reasoning at all, the clearly incorrect presentation of the facts of a story by the legacy media simply to lodge another complaint against Trump.

A seemingly increasing tendency.

Larry J said...

From the perspective of someone who was stationed in Germany during the Cold War, the European NATO countries have been playing the US for suckers for almost 80 years. We’ve spent trillions on their defense while they have not lived up to their obligations. To me, it’s straight forward:

1. If Europe believes there is a threat to their security, it’s primarily their responsibility to address the threat. We can be a partner in the alliance but it isn’t our responsibility to take the leadership role or pay the majority of the costs.

2. If Europe does not believe there is a threat to their security, why should we continue paying tens of billions (possibly over $100 billion) each year to provide for their defense.

Christopher B said...

Rusty said...
France isn't part of NATO.


France withdrew from the NATO military structure and ejected other nations military forces under DeGaulle but it remains a signatory to the treaty.

Jim at said...

The good thing is you are a slight minority, maybe 25% of the GOP.

Well, that would certainly explain how and why Trump only received 74 million votes last time, huh.

gadfly said...

Trump has a lot of nerve lecturing NATO nations that "they are not paying their bills!" So what follows sounds like a threat to not defend NATO allies and the man does not have the authority to violate the common defense treaty.

Two problems. First, he thinks that all of NATO should match U.S. contributions and that is a rule that Trump made up. Second, Trump doesn't pay all of his own real bills, as his half-dozen bankruptcies demonstrate and he didn't pay Giuliani and other lawyers who do not please him. Grifters rip people off in those ways.

Mark said...

Virginia Lawyer Mark accepts, without apparently any critical reasoning at all, the clearly incorrect presentation of the facts of a story by the legacy media

Virginia Lawyer Mark watched the video of Trump saying what he said. Virginia Lawyer Mark doesn't read or watch legacy media.

Meanwhile, you all need to make up your mind. Was it:
Trump didn't really say it?
Trump said it, but was joking?
Trump said it, wasn't joking, but was simply telling Europeans to pay up?
Trump said it, wasn't joking, and even if the Europeans paid, America first, damn it, and hell no we won't go fight to protect other countries?

Prof. M. Drout said...

This story has been written 1000 times since 2016:

"Trump says crazy-go-nuts thing!"

Crazy-go-nuts thing just happens to validate some prejudice about Trump.

All the usual suspects spazz out about the crazy-go-nuts thing Trump supposedly said.

The actual words Trump said, or whatever he said right before or after the supposedly crazy-go-nuts thing, comes out and it is discovered that the crazy-go-nuts thing was actually reasonable, or innocuous, or obvious hyperbole, or a quotation from someone else.

Without acknowledging that they mischaracterized the crazy-go-nuts thing, the media moves on to another crazy-go-nuts thing.

Does anybody ACTUALLY believe these stories anymore? It's all just a game: all the usual suspects pretend to be shocked! or terrified! or offended! Trump's defenders get infuriated at the intellectual dishonesty. Everybody's biases are confirmed.

Why bother? Does anyone really think that THIS TIME the story will be true? Does anyone think that THIS is the FINAL STRAW that will finally bring down Trump?
(If you do think this, you might want to have your meds adjusted)


Christopher B said...

gadfly lied ...

First, he thinks that all of NATO should match U.S. contributions and that is a rule that Trump made up.


In 2006, NATO Defence Ministers agreed to commit a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defence spending to continue to ensure the Alliance's military readiness. This guideline also serves as an indicator of a country's political will to contribute to NATO's common defence efforts since the defence capacity of each member has an impact on the overall perception of the Alliance's credibility as a politico-military organisation.

Christopher B said...

gadfly lied ...

First, he thinks that all of NATO should match U.S. contributions and that is a rule that Trump made up.


In 2006, NATO Defence Ministers agreed to commit a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defence spending to continue to ensure the Alliance's military readiness. This guideline also serves as an indicator of a country's political will to contribute to NATO's common defence efforts since the defence capacity of each member has an impact on the overall perception of the Alliance's credibility as a politico-military organisation.

Christopher B said...

gadfly lied ...

First, he thinks that all of NATO should match U.S. contributions and that is a rule that Trump made up.


In 2006, NATO Defence Ministers agreed to commit a minimum of 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to defence spending to continue to ensure the Alliance's military readiness. This guideline also serves as an indicator of a country's political will to contribute to NATO's common defence efforts since the defence capacity of each member has an impact on the overall perception of the Alliance's credibility as a politico-military organisation.

Tina Trent said...

Gadfly: cite your source, you liar. And maybe stay off Unz Review and Salon.