Facts Matter: Trump was not supporter of NATO

  • Donald Trump has taken credit for backing up NATO while he was in office, but reporting indicates that the former president considered the military alliance a "drain on the United States" and wanted to pull out of it.

    Donald Trump has taken credit for backing up NATO while he was in office, but reporting indicates that the former president considered the military alliance a "drain on the United States" and wanted to pull out of it. Associated Press/June 11, 2019

 
 
Updated 3/6/2022 8:11 AM

Shortly before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, former President Donald Trump praised Russia's president Vladimir Putin's strategy as "genius."

As the conflict rages on, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, has stepped up on behalf of Ukraine. In a statement last week, Trump took credit for the continuation of the military alliance, which was created in 1949 for security against countries such as Russia.

 

"There would be no NATO if I didn't act strongly and swiftly," Trump said in a Feb. 28 statement.

But, as president, Trump continually told his aides that he wanted the U.S. to leave NATO, according to The Washington Post.

In 2018, Trump told administration officials on several occasions that he wanted to withdraw from the alliance because he thought it was a "drain on the United States," The New York Times reported. This was confirmed in former national security adviser John Bolton's 2020 book.

Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly, Trump's former chief of staff, reportedly said one of his most difficult tasks was trying to keep Trump from pulling out of NATO.

While running for reelection in 2020, Trump, "in a fit of pique at Germany," withdrew about a third of the troops stationed there, the Post said. When Joe Biden was elected president, he ordered the troops to remain in Germany.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Biden overstates infrastructure impact

President Joe Biden speaks Friday during an event to announce an investment in production of equipment for the electrical infrastructure in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington. In his State of the Union address, Biden falsely said his infrastructure plan is the largest in history.
President Joe Biden speaks Friday during an event to announce an investment in production of equipment for the electrical infrastructure in the South Court Auditorium on the White House campus in Washington. In his State of the Union address, Biden falsely said his infrastructure plan is the largest in history. - Associated Press

President Joe Biden, during the State of the Union address on Tuesday, said his infrastructure plan was the largest in history.

"The single biggest investment in history was a bipartisan effort," Biden said.

Biden's plan did receive bipartisan support, but it wasn't the biggest in history, according to The Associated Press.

The infrastructure bill calls for $550 billion to be spent on roads, bridges and broadband internet over five years. But as a proportion of the U.S. economy, it's about 1.25% of the gross domestic product, or GDP, which is slightly less than the 1.36% spent during the first four years of the New Deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

And during the late 1970s and early 1980s, nearly 2% of the GDP was used to fund the country's infrastructure.

Social media photos from earlier conflicts

Social media has become an important part of the story of the Russian invasion of Ukraine as civilians are recording the conflict in real time. But some images being presented as new are actually from previous conflicts, according to PolitiFact.

There are reports some Ukrainian citizens have been making Molotov cocktails, a combination of glass bottles, flammable liquid and a cloth fuse, to use against Russian soldiers. And a Feb. 26 Facebook post, which includes four photos of equipment burning under huge flames, appears to show that.

"Ukrainian citizens destroy 2 Russian tanks with Molotov cocktails (Petrol, Gasoline) in Kiev. They are using the guerrilla war tactics to counter Russian army in their capital," the post reads.

Those images actually date back to 2014 and were taken when Ukrainian anti-government protesters were fighting with police in Kyiv.

Another photo in a Feb. 27 post shows a young girl confronting a soldier with the caption, "An 8-year-old Ukrainian girl confronts a Russian soldier telling him to go back to his country. This is courageous."

It may be courageous, but it's not from the current situation in Ukraine, PolitiFact said.

The photo was taken in 2012 in the West Bank when Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian girl who was 10 years old at the time, confronted an Israeli soldier.

The incident was recorded in photos and video and, as a result, Tamimi was well known among Palestinian activists.

Springsteen, others still on Spotify

Bruce Springsteen, here performing in New York at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert, has not taken his music off Spotify.
Bruce Springsteen, here performing in New York at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert, has not taken his music off Spotify. - Invision/AP, File

Canadian singer Neil Young recently demanded Spotify remove his music from Spotify in protest because he claimed podcaster Joe Rogan, also on the platform, was spreading false information about COVID-19.

Singer Joni Mitchell and guitarist Nils Lofgren followed suit, demanding their music also be removed.

Then a story circulating on social media took it to another level, according to PolitiFact.

"Breaking (police car light emoji) Willie Nelson, Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Queen, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, Dave Grohl, Joni Mitchell, Pearl Jam are removing their music from Spotify in solidarity with Neil Young!!! #Spotify can keep the fascists. #DeletedSpotify," read a recent post.

Other than Young, Mitchell and Lofgren, there have been no reports any of the other artists named have had their music removed from Spotify, PolitiFact said.

Spotify has since said it's planning to add a content advisory to any podcast that has a discussion about COVID-19.

• Bob Oswald is a veteran Chicago-area journalist and former news editor of the Elgin Courier-News. Contact him at boboswald33@gmail.com.

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.