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Trump withheld aid from Ukraine and frequently bashed NATO, despite what he’s now claiming amid Russia’s unprovoked war


FEBRUARY 28, 2022

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President Donald Trump on stage with other NATO leaders at the NATO summit London, December 4, 2019. ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images

  • Trump on Monday once again made false claims on Ukraine and NATO.
  • The former president has sought to rewrite history when it comes to Ukraine as Russia attacks.
  • Trump in 2019 was impeached, in part, for withholding military aid from Ukraine.

Former President Donald Trump continues to push a revisionist history when it comes to how he approached Ukraine and NATO while in the White House.

Trump, who has repeatedly mischaracterized how NATO functions and is funded, in a new statement on Monday said, “I hope everyone is able to remember that it was me, as President of the United States, that got delinquent NATO members to start paying their dues, which amounted to hundreds of billions of dollars.”

Both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush pressured NATO allies to increase spending — Trump was hardly the first. And since 2014, several years before Trump entered the White House, defense spending by NATO members has steadily increased.

“Since 2014, all Allies in Europe and Canada have increased defense spending every year. And they have, in total, added 270 billion extra for defense,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said earlier this month.

In other words, Trump is taking credit for a trend that began before he was president — and he’s done so repeatedly.

Video: Trump condemns Russia invasion; hints again at 2024 presidential run (Reuters)

Trump in his new statement also said, “There would be no NATO if I didn’t act strongly and swiftly.”

But during his presidency, Trump repeatedly bashed NATO and raised fears that the US would leave the alliance. His approach to NATO created historic tensions with key US allies.

“Also, it was me that got Ukraine the very effective antitank busters (Javelins) when the previous Administration was sending blankets. Let History so note!” Trump went on to say in the statement.

It’s true that Javelin anti-tank missiles were sold to Ukraine during the Trump era. But Trump in 2019 was also impeached, in part, for withholding roughly $400 million of military aid from Ukraine as it continued to fight a war against Kremlin-backed rebels in the Donbas region. Trump froze the aid while pressuring Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky — currently being lauded as a hero as Russia invades his country — to launch an investigation into then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, over baseless allegations of corruption.

Trump’s suggestion that the Obama administration only sent “blankets” to Ukraine is also false.

After Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea in 2014, there were growing calls in Washington for the US to provide Kyiv with security assistance. The Obama administration refused to provide lethal aid to Ukraine over fears it could escalate the conflict with Russia, and has faced criticism over this. But the US under Obama did ultimately provide Ukraine with millions in security assistance, including military equipment and training. Between 2014 and 2016, the US committed over $600 million in security assistance to Ukraine.

Under the Biden administration, the US has provided Ukraine with roughly $1 billion in security assistance, including lethal aid.

With a Russian invasion of Ukraine underway, Trump and his Republican allies have made the case that Moscow never would’ve attacked if he was in the White House, and many in the GOP have sought to politicize the crisis. Meanwhile, top experts on Russia and authoritarianism have said that Trump emboldened Russian President Vladimir Putin — and helped pave the way for this war.

Courtesy/Source: Business Insider