CLEVELAND — Tennessee Republican Rep. Scott Desjarlais came to Donald Trump’s defense Thursday saying “it’s expensive to police the world.”
Trump told The New York Times that he would make sure NATO member countries have “fulfilled their obligations to us” before protecting them in the case of an attack.
“You can’t forget the bills,” Trump said. “They have an obligation to make payments. Many NATO nations are not making payments, are not making what they’re supposed to make. That’s a big thing. You can’t say forget that.”
This put him under bipartisan fire from both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Hillary Clinton campaign. The president of Estonia, a NATO member, said on Twitter, “We are equally committed to all our NATO allies, regardless of who they may be. That’s what makes them allies.”
Rep. Desjarlais, a House Foreign Affairs Committee member, told The Daily Caller that Trump is “trying to make this a true alliance.” The United States in 2015 was the only NATO member to spend more than 3 percent of their GDP on military spending.
“America always tends to be there when countries are in need and I think he is just making the point that NATO needs to be there with America,” Desjarlais said. He added, “these countries have to do a better job of fulfilling their obligation.”
While Sen. McConnell thought Trump’s comments about the NATO alliance were a “rookie mistake,” Rep. Desjarlais described Trump as having an “adult discussion.”
“It’s expensive to police the world and that tends to fall on the United States.”