Biden slams Trump’s comments on Russia and NATO as ‘anti-American’

Biden slams Trump’s comments on Russia and NATO as ‘anti-American’

President Biden on Tuesday denounced former President Donald J. Trump for encouraging Russia to attack some NATO allies, calling the comments “stupid,” “shameful,” “dangerous” and “un-American” while that he implored House Republicans to challenge their putative nominee. and pass new security assistance for Ukraine and Israel.

In a televised statement, Mr. Biden said a $95 billion spending package that the Senate passed earlier in the day in a bipartisan vote was imperative to help defeat the “vicious assault” of President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia against Ukraine. And he linked the legislative debate to Mr. Trump’s campaign speech siding with Moscow against European allies he deemed “delinquent.”

“Can you imagine?” ” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House. “A former president of the United States says that? The whole world heard it. And the worst part is that he really means it. No other president in our history has ever bowed to a Russian dictator. Let me say this as clearly as possible – I never will. For God’s sake, it’s stupid, it’s shameful, it’s dangerous, it’s un-American.”

Mr. Trump, who has long expressed admiration for Mr. Putin and derision for NATO and Ukraine, boasted at a campaign rally this weekend that he had warned NATO allies who were not spending enough on their own armies that he would not come to their countries. defense if Russia attacked them. This would effectively render ineffective Article 5 of the alliance’s charter, which requires members to assist each other in the event of external attack. But not only would he not help the allies, Mr. Trump added that he would “encourage” Russia “to do whatever it wants” against them.

The former president’s stunning comments favoring a longtime enemy over longtime friends have inflamed the debate on Capitol Hill over renewing military aid to Ukraine, which has been stalled for months even as troops there are running low on ammunition and struggling to recapture territory captured by Russian forces.

The Senate finally passed the $95 billion security aid package Tuesday morning, by a vote of 70 to 29, with 22 Republicans joining nearly all Democrats in supporting the funding. The package includes $60.1 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel, $9.2 billion for humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza, Ukraine and other conflict zones, and $4.8 billion for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies concerned about an aggressive China.

Speaker Mike Johnson, however, pledged not to allow a vote in the House without including tough policies cracking down on illegal immigration. “Absent a single change in border policy from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own way on these important issues,” he said Monday evening.

But Mr. Johnson, under pressure from Mr. Trump, who has said he does not want to give Mr. Biden a political victory, has already rejected the inclusion of a bipartisan border compromise negotiated by a conservative Republican senator with his Democratic and independent counterparts. The likelihood of agreement on an even tougher package that would be acceptable to both Mr. Trump and enough Democrats to pass the Senate seems unlikely, if not impossible.

As a result, aid to Ukraine and Israel remains hostage to a domestic political dispute with no easy solution. Previously approved military aid for Ukraine as it seeks to expel Russian invaders from its eastern territories has already run out, while Israel needs resupply after four months of military operations in response to the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7.

Last week, Mr. Johnson tried to pass a bill providing only aid to Israel, but he failed to obtain the two-thirds of the votes he needed for the parliamentary maneuver, amid threats veto by Mr. Biden, who opposed the separation of the package and the departure of Ukraine. out.

Democrats can try to bypass Mr. Johnson and introduce the security package if they can muster enough Republicans to reach 218 signatures on a so-called discharge petition, but it is a cumbersome process and difficult that takes time and rarely. works.

Mr. Biden challenged Mr. Johnson to allow a floor vote, arguing that there is a clear majority in the House in favor of the plan, despite the president and the hard-line Freedom Caucus.

“We can’t walk away now,” the president said. “This is what Putin is betting on. He just said that categorically. Supporting this bill means standing up to Putin. To oppose it is to play into Putin’s hands.”

Mr. Biden added that Republicans who stood in the way would ultimately be held accountable, repeating his recent phrase that “history is watching.” He framed the issue as a choice between freedom and autocracy.

“Are you going to stand with Ukraine or with Putin? ” He asked. “Will you stand with America or with Trump? »

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Eric D. Eilerman

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