Two Ohio Republican lawmakers shied away from outright decrying Republican nominee Donald Trump’s comments questioning whether the United States should automatically defend NATO allies if they are attacked.
Trump was quoted in the New York Times Thursday as saying that he would first look at NATO countries’ contributions to the alliance before defending them, instead saying the United States has to “fix our own mess” before lecturing other countries on what to do.
Rep. Mike Turner, the president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly – a group of lawmakers that advise NATO – said he believed Trump’s comments were “misrepresented.”
“He says absolutely we’ll be there and we guarantee that to our allies,” Turner said of Trump. “He certainly says they need to live up to their obligations. I just returned from the NATO summit and that’s what all the world leaders are saying to each other – that the bill has to stop being sent to the United States, that they need to live up to their obligations and that that is a minimum standard that is expected for participation in NATO.”
Sen. Rob Portman, meanwhile, called NATO “arguably the most important alliance we’ve ever had.”
“I would say his point that we would like our NATO partners to contribute more to NATO and their own defense is absolutely accurate,” he said.
Gov. John Kasich also weighed in on Trump’s comments on NATO in a tweet.
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