Tags: Trump Administration | donald rumsfeld | trump | NATO

Rumsfeld: Trump 'Exactly Right' on NATO Spending Demand

(Fox News/"Fox & Friends")

By    |   Friday, 26 May 2017 09:16 AM

President Donald Trump was "exactly right" to call out NATO leaders Thursday for their countries not paying their fair share to defend themselves, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday.

"I was ambassador to NATO, I don't know, 45 years ago, [and] we had the same message," Rumsfeld told Fox News' "Fox & Friends" program. 

"It's not what they pay NATO, it's what they invest in their own defense as a part of a military alliance. And I don't know, I think there are maybe five or six countries who are hitting the NATO target."

According to NATO guidelines, member states are encouraged to spend at least 2 percent of their respective countries's gross domestic product (GDP) on their own military defense, so the countries can defend themselves without relying too often on NATO's forces and equipment, NBC News reports. 

NATO leaders in 2014 agreed that the members who spend under the benchmark were to work toward reaching that goal within the decade, but Rumsfeld Friday noted that most of the members are spending less than 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

"The United States is now below 4 percent," said Rumsfeld. "President Trump was exactly right, and it's important that if they are going to be part of a military alliance, they have to step up and invest in their defense."

Rumsfeld also discussed a Fox News report concerning a new ISIS propaganda video threatening Las Vegas, pointing out that the purpose of terrorism is not necessarily to kill people, but to "alter behavior.'

"It's to have individuals and groups of individuals change what they're doing to satisfy the terrorist," he said. "It seems to me that what President Trump did in Saudi Arabia is exactly the right thing to do.

"He spoke to some 50 heads of states and nations in that part of the world who are influential and able to talk to the people of that faith and begin to try to engage them and persuade them that the goal is not to train young people to go out and kill other people. It's to live and be a part of a society."

Rumsfeld also said he hopes Trump's choice to call terrorists "losers" will prove to be right.

"A terrorist can attack any place, any time using any technique," he said. "It's not possible to defend everywhere at every moment of the day or night against every conceivable approach."

Rumsfeld appeared on the program with retired Marine Corps. Col. Tom Manion to discuss, in part, his decision to donate proceeds from his viral app, Churchill Solitaire, will go to the Travis Manion Foundation.

Rumsfeld this week announced that all of his profits to date from the the app, which brought to life the card game played by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, will be part of a $500,000 grant from the Rumsfeld Foundation to the foundation.

"Our foundation supports a number of military charities and the Travis Manion Foundation, I think, is doing something particularly useful," said Rumsfeld. "I was one of the supporters and initiators of the all voluntary military. It's worked. We have the best military on the face of the Earth.

"And one of the adverse aspects of that is fewer people serve because instead of drafting everybody and having them go out after 18 months, they bring in people who raise their hand, volunteer, say we want to serve, and they stay in for longer periods."

On MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Rumsfeld said he did not believe Trump was "hostile" to NATO leaders, but that he does have a style that's "unusual, different."

"I think you also have to cut him a little slack," Rumsfeld said. "He's been in there how many weeks? Months? he doesn't have the undersecretaries, he doesn't have the assistant secretaries. It takes so long to get people in place."

Rumsfeld said he does believe Trump has a "very small team so far, [but] it's a good one."

"I think the cabinet and the Supreme Court nominee, I'd give them high marks for picking good people," Rumsfeld said. "I think [Defense Secretary] JamesMattis is an excellent choice. He's thoughtful, measured, experienced."

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President Donald Trump was "exactly right" to call out NATO leaders Thursday for their countries not paying their fair share to defend themselves, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday.
donald rumsfeld, trump, NATO
Friday, 26 May 2017 09:16 AM
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