Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is "100 percent wrong" in criticizing his positions on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Trump told The New York Times on Wednesday that the United States would only defend NATO states attacked by Russia if those nations "have fulfilled their obligations to us."
The Republican nominee's remarks cast doubt on whether he would automatically extend the security guarantees that give the 28 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the assurance that they have U.S. military support should an attack occur.
He specifically referred to the three small Baltic states which share borders with Russia.
"I think he's wrong on that," McConnell told Politico. "I don't think that view would be prevalent or held by anybody he might make secretary of state or secretary or defense."
On "Meet the Press" Sunday, moderator Chuck Todd quizzed Trump on his position.
"Mitch McConnell said this about your remarks to The New York Times," Todd said to Trump. "He said it was a rookie mistake and once you — let me finish the comment here. It's a rookie mistake and proves that Trump needs people like us around to help steer him in the right direction on some basic things," Todd asked.
"He's 100 percent wrong. Okay?" Trump replied. "He's 100 percent wrong if he said that... He's 100 percent wrong and frankly, it's sad. We have NATO and we have many countries that aren't paying for what they are supposed to be paying, which is already too little but not paying anyway and we're giving them a free ride or a ride where they owe us tremendous amounts of money and have the money but they are not paying it.
"We have countries that aren't paying and this goes beyond NATO because we take care of Japan," Trump said. "We take care of Germany and South Korea, Saudi Arabia and lose on everything.
"Now, a country gets invaded. They haven't paid. Everyone said, 'Oh, but we have a treaty.' They have a treaty, too. They are supposed to be paying. We have countries within NATO taking advantage of us. With me, I believe they are going to pay and when they pay, I'm a big believer in NATO."
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