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‘U.S. Credibility is at Stake’ Says Head of Joint Chiefs of Staff in Wake of Trump’s NATO Remarks

General Charles Q. Brown Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has expressed concerns about the credibility of the United States following recent remarks by former President Donald Trump disparaging NATO.

Upholding Alliances

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Brown emphasizes the importance of upholding alliances like NATO, especially during its 75th anniversary, stating that U.S. “credibility is at stake” with each of its alliances.

Context

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During an interview at the Pentagon with Lester Holt, anchor of NBC’s “Nightly News,” Brown was asked about his thoughts on Trump’s statement that he would let Russia have its way with NATO members if they do not make enough contributions to the alliance.

Responsibility of U.S. Leadership

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Brown said, “U.S. credibility is at stake with each of our alliances and U.S. leadership is still needed, wanted and watched.”

Communication with NATO Countries

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Brown highlights the message he conveys to NATO countries, “realizing that each one of us has political leadership that we have to work with, and that they set the agenda,”

Trump’s Comments

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Trump’s recent remarks, suggesting letting Russia attack NATO countries if they “don’t pay their bills”, have sparked controversy and raised concerns about U.S. commitment to the alliance.

Doubled Down on Social Media

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Trump reiterated his stance on NATO in a post on Truth Social, where he said that he would let Russia do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO countries that don’t pay a certain amount of their GDP toward defense spending.

Response to Trump’s Remarks

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When asked, Brown refrained from directly criticizing Trump’s comments, instead focusing on strengthening military cooperation with NATO allies.

Focus on Strengthening Relationship

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Brown said: “What I do is I focus on continuing to build and strengthen our relationship with NATO. And I realize there’ll be various dialogue in discussions at the political level. My job is to make sure that we are doing everything we can with our NATO allies on the military aspect, and I’ll continue to do that throughout.”

Biden Campaign Response

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The Biden campaign condemned Trump’s remarks, highlighting the potential damage to alliances and democracy caused by encouraging Russia’s aggression.

Trump’s Past Criticisms of NATO

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During his presidency, Trump frequently criticized NATO members for failing to meet defense spending targets and questioned the alliance’s collective defense commitments.

Defense of Biden’s Mental Acuity

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Brown also defended President Biden’s cognitive abilities in the interview, emphasizing that he is “very sharp” and lauded his ability to grasp complex issues.

Mentoring by Biden

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Brown added that he “got mentored” with many people that have “worked very closely with the president ’cause I want to make sure I get it right.”

He added, “And I’ve seen him in the Oval [Office] call folks out if he’s not getting the information he needs. … He’s sharp.”

Biden’s Oval Office Conduct

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Brown added that President Biden is vigilant in seeking necessary information and is not hesitant to challenge advisors if he feels information is lacking.

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