Rumsfeld Praises Trump Speech Scolding NATO Allies on Defense Commitments: 'I'm Glad He Did It'

May 26, 2017

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld praised President Trump on Friday for his speech a day earlier insisting NATO allies meet defense spending commitments, saying it needed to be said.

At NATO headquarters in Belgium, Trump said 23 out of 28 member nations were not "paying what they should be paying," referring to a commitment to pay two percent of gross domestic product toward defense, and were being unfair to American taxpayers.

Appearing on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Rumsfeld, who was also NATO ambassador from 1973 to 1974, said he was aware of critiques of Trump's remarks as being condescending to top allies.

"He sounded like I did 30, 40 years ago when I was ambassador," he said. "It has to be done. They're not doing it. I think there are only five countries that are hitting the two percent, and it's important that they do that. I think it's particularly important that the president of the United States look them in the eye and talk to them about how important it is."

The U.S., along with Britain, Estonia, Poland, and Greece, are the only five countries in NATO currently meeting the mark of paying at least two percent of GDP toward the military.

"Those [other] countries, for the most part, are simply not meeting the NATO target, and they should, and someone needs to tell them that, and I'm glad he did it," he said.