Biden Denounces Trump’s Support for Russian Attack on Allies as ‘Un-American’

President Biden denounced former President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday for encouraging Russia to attack some NATO allies, calling the comments “dumb,” “shameful,” “dangerous” and “un-American” as he implored House Republicans to defy their putative nominee and pass new security aid for Ukraine and Israel.

In a televised statement, Mr. Biden said a $95 billion spending package passed earlier in the day on a bipartisan vote in the Senate was imperative to help defeat the “vicious onslaught” of President Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia against Ukraine. And he linked the legislative debate to Mr. Trump’s campaign speech siding with Moscow over European allies he deemed “delinquent.”

“Can you imagine?” Mr. Biden told reporters at the White House. “A former president of the United States saying that? The whole world heard it. And the worst thing is he means it. No other president in our history has ever bowed down to a Russian dictator. Let me say this as clearly as I can — I never will. For God’s sake, it’s dumb, it’s shameful, it’s dangerous, it’s un-American.”

Mr. Trump, who has long expressed admiration for Mr. Putin and derision for NATO and Ukraine, boasted at a campaign rally over the weekend that he had warned NATO allies that did not spend enough on their own militaries that he would not come to their defense if Russia attacked them despite Article 5 of the alliance charter requiring members to aid each other in event of an outside attack. Not only would he not help them, Mr. Trump said, he would “encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” against them.

Mr. Biden’s statement on Tuesday came hours after the Senate passed the security aid legislation on a 70-to-29 vote, with 22 Republicans joining nearly all Democrats in supporting the financing. The package includes $60.1 billion for Ukraine, $14.1 billion for Israel and $9.2 billion for humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, Ukraine and other conflict zones.

Speaker Mike Johnson, however, has vowed not to allow a vote on the floor without including hard-line policies cracking down on illegal immigration. “In the absence of having received any single border policy change from the Senate, the House will have to continue to work its own will on these important matters,” he said on Monday night.

But Mr. Johnson, under pressure from Mr. Trump, who said he does not want to give Mr. Biden the political win, has already rejected a bipartisan border bill negotiated by a conservative Republican senator with Democratic and independent counterparts. The likelihood of a consensus on a tougher package that would be acceptable to both Mr. Trump and to enough Democrats to pass the Senate seems implausible if not impossible.

As a result, the aid to Ukraine and Israel remains held hostage to a domestic policy dispute without a likely resolution anytime in the near future. Military aid previously approved for Ukraine as it seeks to expel Russian invaders from its eastern territories has arun out while Israel needs replenishment after four months of military operations in response to the Oct. 7 terrorist attack by Hamas.

The legislation also includes nearly $5 billion for Taiwan and other Indo-Pacific allies worried about China’s aggressive foreign policy, a priority for both parties.

Mr. Johnson last week tried to pass a bill providing only the Israel aid, but fell short of the two-thirds vote he needed for the parliamentary maneuver amid a veto threat by Mr. Biden, who objected to separating the package and leaving Ukraine out.

Source link: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/13/us/politics/biden-republicans-ukraine-aid.html

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