There have been shocked reactions to revelations that Republican frontrunner Donald Trump warned Nato allies that he “would encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to countries that are “delinquent” during his first term as US president.
Speaking at a rally in South Carolina, Mr Trump recounted a story he had told before about an unidentified Nato member who confronted him over his threat not to defend members who failed to meet the trans-Atlantic alliance’s defence spending targets.
Mr Trump recounted that he had told the member that he would, in fact, “encourage” Russia to do as it wishes in that case.
“‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’” Mr Trump recounted himself saying.
“‘No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills.’”
Nato allies agreed in 2014, after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, to halt the spending cuts they had made after the Cold War and move towards spending 2 per cent of their gross domestic profit on defence by 2024.
White House spokesman Andrew Bates expressed concern about Mr Trump’s claims, calling the comments “appalling and unhinged”.
He wasn’t the only one who was horrified by the remarks.