Dutch Leader Urges Allies To Stop ‘Whining’ About Trump
Mark Rutte, Netherlands' prime minister, during a Bloomberg Television interview on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024.
(Stefan Wermuth/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a top contender to be the next leader of NATO, encouraged Western allies to stop fretting over the prospect of former President Donald Trump returning to the White House.

“We should stop moaning and whining and nagging about Trump,” Rutte said to the Munich Security Conference, according to Reuters. He added, “It’s up to the Americans. I’m not an American, I cannot vote in the U.S. We have to work with whoever is on the dance floor.”

Trump, who is running another campaign for a second term, prompted a firestorm this month when he told an anecdote about how he used hardball tactics to negotiate with other world leaders on supporting the NATO alliance.

At an event in South Carolina, Trump spoke about how NATO was “busted” until he got allied countries to increase their defense spending under pressure to do more to meet the 2% minimum GDP defense investment guideline.

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, you didn’t pay? You’re delinquent? He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want. You gotta pay,” Trump said.

Some took Trump’s comments as suggesting he would allow the United States to neglect its Article 5 duties and even take Russia’s side in the event of an attack, but the former president indicated he’s focused on getting NATO allies to “equalize” contributions.


Rutte, who is seen as a leading candidate to follow Jens Stoltenberg as secretary general of NATO later this year, explained to German news outlet Deutsche Welle his position, saying, “Let’s stop moaning and nagging and whining about Trump” because the 2024 election has not happened yet.

“We need to invest in our defense expenditure. We need to massively ramp up arms production, and we need to massively do more in support to Ukraine,” Rutte said. “This has nothing to do with Trump,” he continued, adding later how allies should “be making sure that our defense is at maximum capacity.”

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