So much for the notion that a businessman would be good at running a country.
Donald Trump set off alarm bells Saturday when he told a story about how he claims to have told leaders of other NATO nations that instead of helping them if Russia attacked, he’d “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want.” In a social media post, he doubles down on distancing the U.S. from allies.
Defense experts have expressed alarm at Trump’s rally comments, which they say endanger U.S. troops, but he’s not only signaling to Vladimir Putin. He’s advocating for an America that, unlike currently, is more comfortable with refusing aid or withholding aid as a power play.
His Truth Social post actually demands that the Senate stop offering aid to allies and suggests that the U.S. should instead only offer “loans” to other nations, then demand payment if other countries ever “turn against us.” He wrote, in part:
“From this point forward, are you listening U.S. Senate (?), no money in the form of foreign aid should be given to any country unless it is done as a loan….We could never give money anymore without the hope of a payback, or without ‘strings’ attached.”
This stance is quite ironic considering that Trump has denied attempting a quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine for aid during his presidency.
He’s not just musing about future potential policies or his wishes, either — his post is a direct call to Republicans in the U.S. Senate, while Congress tries to negotiate deals that would offer aid to both Israel —during a war with Hamas in Gaza — and Ukraine which has been fighting to fend off Russia’s invasion for almost two years now.
Trump has already boasted that he, through his influence over members of Congress, destroyed a piece of bipartisan legislation for border security, and he’s clearly shown he can squeeze elected MAGAs into doing his bidding, even while he doesn’t hold office.
His primary opponent, Nikki Haley, addressed Trump’s isolationism Sunday morning, saying that the former president should remember, “America needs to have friends.” She said:
“After September 10th, we needed a lot of friends. We can never get to the point where we don’t need friends.”
It was a valid point, although Haley herself was accused of memory issues after getting the date of the September 11th terrorist attacks wrong.
Trump’s vision of an America isolated from other global nations reflects his voters, though. When they name the concerns they have about the rest of the world, they’re more focused on anti-immigration rhetoric than on international relations, Reuters reported.