CNN Tries To Get NATO Chief To Denounce Trump, He Praises Him Instead

On Sunday, ABC’s Martha Raddatz tried and failed to get Gen. Charles Brown to attack Donald Trump as he tries to pull a Grover Cleveland and return to the presidency. On Wednesday, it was CNN’s Poppy Harlow’s turn to try to get someone to denounce Trump. However not only did Harlow, like Raddatz, fail, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg actually had positive things to say about Trump.

Harlow teed up a clip of Trump by declaring that he “is likely the Republican nominee for president. He has been very clear how he feels about NATO. He reiterated that feeling just a couple days ago. Listen to this.”

Trump was then shown at a rally telling the crowd “We’re paying for NATO, and we don’t get so much out of it. And, you know, I hate to tell you this about NATO. If we ever needed their help, let’s say we were attacked, I don’t believe they’d be there.”

Harlow then asked “You look at the Trump campaign website, Mr. Secretary General, it says, quote, ‘we have to finish the process that we began under my administration of fundamentally re-evaluating NATO’s purpose and NATO’s mission.’ Would a second Trump presidency concern you about the future of U.S. membership in NATO?

NATO did come to the defense of the United States after 9/11, but Stoltenberg refused to be drawn into American electoral contests “I believe that the United States will continue to be a staunch NATO ally regardless of the outcome of the U.S. elections because it is in the U.S. interest to have a strong –”

After Harlow interrupted to add “Even under President Trump?” Stoltenberg recalled his time working with Trump, arguing he highlighted a very real problem and got results, “Well, I worked with him for four years and I listened carefully because the main criticism has been about NATO allies spending too little on NATO and the message has been taken across the alliance in Europe and Canada.”

Stoltenberg elaborated, “So, over the last years, NATO allies have significantly increased defense spending. More and more allies meet the NATO guideline on spending two percent of GDP on defense. Poland is actually spending four percent of GDP, no other allies spending more than that. And in total, they have added 450 billion extra for defense. So, the message from the United States that the European allies have to step up has been understood and they are now really moving in the right direction and that strengthens also the transatlantic bond within the alliance.”

Earlier in the interview, Harlow tried to get Stoltenberg to go after another Republican, “Just earlier this week you said, quote, ‘I’m confident that all NATO allies, including the United States, will continue to provide support to Ukraine.’ And I wonder if you are still confident in that after your meeting with Speaker Johnson yesterday.

Stoltenberg said he was while acknowledging and respecting the Congressional back-and-forth over the “important and difficult” issue of border security.

Here is a transcript for the January 31 show:

CNN This Morning

1/31/2024

7:17 AM ET

POPPY HARLOW: Just earlier this week you said, quote, “I’m confident that all NATO allies, including the United States, will continue to provide support to Ukraine.” And I wonder if you are still confident in that after your meeting with Speaker Johnson yesterday.

JENS STOLTENBERG: Yes, I continue to expect that also the United States will find a way to support Ukraine, because that is in the security interest of the United States. If President Putin wins in Ukraine, it will embolden him, but also other authoritarian leaders to use military force. Today, it is Ukraine, tomorrow it could be Taiwan.

And when I visited the Hill yesterday, I met many politicians from both parties, and I saw broad support for Ukraine, but then, of course, there is this link to the border issue, which I respect is an important and difficult issue, but I believe it’s possible to find a way forward to support Ukraine, regardless of how the border issue is handled.

HARLOW: If you could take us inside that meeting with Speaker Johnson, what did he say that made you so confident, like that this would be separated and he thinks the border deal has no path forward, so it would be separate and that funding would come for Ukraine?

STOLTENBERG: Well, the Speaker and I, we agreed a joint statement where we clearly stated that President Putin must not win the war in Ukraine. And the only way to prevent President Putin from winning is to provide support.

And we all hoped for more advances in the offensive the Ukrainians launched last year, but we need to also remember where the whole thing started when the full-fledged invasion happened in 2022. Most experts expected that Russia would take control over Kyiv within days, and the rest of Ukraine within weeks. That did not happen.

The Ukrainians have liberated 50 percent of the land Russia occupied in the beginning. They have opened the corridor in the Black Sea, pushing back the Russian fleet. And they are inflicting heavy losses on the Russian Armed Forces.

So, with a fraction of the U.S. defense budget, significant combat capabilities of the Russian Army has been destroyed. So, our support is making a difference on the ground every day.

HARLOW: Former President Trump is likely the Republican nominee for president. He has been very clear how he feels about NATO. He reiterated that feeling just a couple days ago. Listen to this.

DONALD TRUMP: We’re paying for NATO, and we don’t get so much out of it. And, you know, I hate to tell you this about NATO. If we ever needed their help, let’s say we were attacked, I don’t believe they’d be there.

HARLOW: You look at the Trump campaign website, Mr. Secretary General, it says, quote, “we have to finish the process that we began under my administration of fundamentally re-evaluating NATO’s purpose and NATO’s mission.” Would a second Trump presidency concern you about the future of U.S. membership in NATO?

STOLTENBERG: I believe that the United States will continue to be a staunch NATO ally regardless of the outcome of the U.S. elections because it is in the U.S. interest to have a strong –

HARLOW: Even under President Trump?

STOLTENBERG: Well, I worked with him for four years and I listened carefully because the main criticism has been about NATO allies spending too little on NATO and the message has been taken across the alliance in Europe and Canada.

So, over the last years, NATO allies have significantly increased defense spending. More and more allies meet the NATO guideline on spending two percent of GDP on defense. Poland is actually spending four percent of GDP, no other allies spending more than that. And in total, they have added 450 billion extra for defense.

So, the message from the United States that the European allies have to step up has been understood and they are now really moving in the right direction and that strengthens also the transatlantic bond within the alliance.

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