As President Trump Bashes NATO, Republicans Are Largely Silent

As President Trump Bashes NATO, Republicans Are Largely Silent

The House passed a resolution on Wednesday affirming the United States’ commitment to its NATO allies while expressing support for the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, pledging that the United States “will continue to maintain strong leadership and strengthen its commitments to NATO.” The Senate approved a similar motion on Tuesday night.

Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the ranking member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, pointed out on the House floor that the NATO support resolution had been ready for passage for days.

“Members should have had the opportunity to debate this in the House — before the NATO summit meeting began this morning — and sent a clear message that this body stands with NATO,” he said. “Instead, we’re rushing it through today, after the summit is halfway over and after President Trump has again insulted our closest friends on the global stage.”

As has become typical, Republicans who are not running for re-election were the most critical of the president’s remarks.

“The NATO alliance is something that’s incredibly important to us and to our citizens, to stability in Europe,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which approved a separate resolution on Wednesday expressing support for NATO. “Rhetoric that’s intended to harm it is not something that to me we need to be doing.”

Having just returned from Finland, Denmark, Latvia and Sweden, Mr. Corker said, “I tell you, when you sit in these meetings, it’s discouraging to know the way we’re being viewed and the lack of reliability that people are feeling about us right now.”

So is it Mr. Trump’s messaging that shakes up our allies?

“Absolutely,” Mr. Corker said. “We as a nation have created these structures that have served us and the world well, and certainly the West and democracy, and those who believe in capitalism, those who want to counter corrupt activities. And when we create a destabilizing sense about what’s happening, and then we go —” he said, leaving the thought unfinished.

“Hopefully,” he said, “there won’t be conciliatory comments towards Russia, let me put it that way.”

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