“He doesn’t talk like a traditional politician,” Rubio told CNN’s Jake Tapper on State of the Union on Sunday. “We’ve already been through this. You think people would have figured it out.
“What he’s basically saying is, if you see the comments, he said NATO was broke or busted until he took over because people weren’t paying their dues and then he told the story about how he used leverage to get people to step up to the plate and become more active in NATO. He’s not the first American president, in fact, virtually every American at some point in some way has complained about other countries and NATO not doing enough.”
Rubio’s comments came a day after Trump shared how he once responded to an unnamed world leader he claimed asked if the U.S. would defend the leader’s country if Russia attacked it.
“I said, ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent? He said, “Yes, let’s say that happened,’” Trump said during a rally on Saturday. “No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want. You’ve got to pay.”
The comments drew scorn from Democrats who condemned Trump’s willingness to condemn Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, which states that NATO members would unite against an aggressor if one attacks a NATO member.
“He’s more interested in aggrandizing himself and pleasing Putin than protecting our allies,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) wrote on X. “It would be enough to make Reagan ill.”
But Trump’s indifference to a Putin attack on a NATO member left Rubio, the vice chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, with “zero concern” on Sunday. He said he knows what Trump “has done and will do” to support NATO, despite a 2019 New York Times report that revealed Trump repeatedly considered withdrawing the U.S. from NATO while he was president and had to be talked down by national security officials.
Elsewhere in the interview, Rubio admitted he was tired of being asked about Trump’s various incendiary statements.
“One of the things I'm not going to do any longer is respond to every comment Donald Trump makes,” Rubio said. “‘Do you still support him?’ I do, and I support him because Joe Biden is a disaster.”