President-elect Donald Trump might not have used the same words he would have in criticizing NATO, but still has a point, New York Rep. Pete King said.
"I hope the allies do pay more attention to NATO," King said Monday on CNN's "The Lead." "They have been very derelict."
Trump has called NATO "obsolete" when it came to fighting terrorism. King said he would not have made that public pronouncement, but added he has had multiple conversations with foreign leaders who say they are concerned about the preparedness level of NATO as well.
"Donald Trump will have his own style," King said of Trump's words that have angered allies in recent days. "I would be more precise, and I would probably, you know, try to be more specific."
King said the United States "and a few other countries are carrying" NATO, and other countries need to contribute financially — much as Trump asserts.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Monday Trump's words "caused astonishment" in the European Union.
When Trump used the term "obsolete," he was saying NATO remains in a Cold War mentality while ignoring the threat of Islamic terrorism, King added. After Trump made those comments, NATO appeared to respond and adjust its policy, he said.
"I would have articulated it differently, but I think that, again, Donald Trump has his own way of speaking and obviously if his defense secretary believes in NATO, Donald Trump does believe in NATO."
The organization must be strengthened, he said.
"We are killing ourselves if we don't acknowledge that."
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