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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says ‘US credibility is at stake’ following Trump’s NATO remarks

WASHINGTON — Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. said in an interview Monday that America’s “credibility is at stake” with each of its alliances, including NATO, which former President Donald Trump recently denigrated. Remarks.

In an interview with Pentagon “Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, Brown was asked what he thought about Trump suggesting he would allow Russia to have its way with members of the NATO if they do not contribute enough to the alliance.

“This year marks NATO’s 75th anniversary,” Brown said. “And I think we have a responsibility to maintain these alliances. America’s credibility is at stake in each of our alliances and American leadership is always needed, sought and monitored.”

He said this is his message to NATO countries, “being aware that each of us has political leaders with whom we must work and that they are the ones who set the agenda “, he added.

Jason Miller, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, defended Trump’s comments by reiterating a statement he made over the weekend: “President Trump caused our allies to increase their spending on NATO by demanding that they pay, but Joe Biden is back to letting them take it. benefit the American taxpayer. When you don’t pay for your defense spending, you can’t be surprised to have more war.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.NBC News

Asked if he was alarmed by Trump’s comments, Brown responded: “What I’m doing is focusing on building and strengthening our relationship with NATO.” And I realize that there will be various dialogues in the discussions at the political level. to make sure that we are doing everything we can with our NATO allies on the military side, and I will continue to do that throughout.”

Watch the interview on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt at 6:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m.

At a rally in South Carolina on Saturday, Trump said he would urge Russia “to do whatever they want” if it attacked a NATO country that has not paid enough for the alliance .

“Let’s say it happened. No, I wouldn’t protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do what they want,” he said. “You have to pay your bills.”

As president, Trump has denounced NATO and countries that do not devote the agreed-upon 2 percent of their gross domestic product to the alliance’s defense spending. He also questioned Article 5 of the NATO charter, which states that an attack on one is an attack on all and would result in a collective response.

Separately, Brown defended President Joe Biden’s mental acuity after the special counsel overseeing Biden’s mishandling of classified documents suggested the president sometimes had a “poor memory.”

“He’s pretty sharp,” Brown said. “You know, he has a very good understanding of the issues. … I was even mentored from the moment I arrived and met with different people who worked very closely with the president because I want to make sure I do the right thing things. … And I’ve seen him in the Oval (Office) calling people if he doesn’t get the information he needs. … He’s sharp.

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