Former Secretary of State John Kerry harshly criticized Donald Trump on Wednesday, accusing the 45th president of “strange” and “counterproductive” statements and actions towards NATO, The Syracuse Post-Standard is reporting.
Trump has been largely critical of both NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, formed as an alliance between 29 North American and European countries in advance of the Cold War) and of some U.S. allies, including Germany, in recent days. The timing couldn’t be worse, as a NATO summit is set to begin this week.
Specifically, Trump has been intimating that some NATO members owe the U.S. money, according to The Hill.
“Many countries are not paying what they should. And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them. So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you’ll just add it all up. It’s massive amounts of money is owed.”
Similarly, Trump launched what the Post-Standard called a “broadside” against Germany on Wednesday, calling the U.S. ally “captive to Russia” because of its dependence on the country for much of its energy needs. Meanwhile, Trump has called Putin an “ally,” and is indeed planning a summit with him.
To John Kerry, who served as Secretary of State under Obama between 2013 and 2017, it doesn’t add up. In a lengthy statement, a photo of which he posted to Twitter, Kerry questioned what could possibly be going through Trump’s mind.
“President Trump makes public adversaries out of our friends, and turns our adversary, who has been attacking America’s democracy, into his fawned-over ally. Why? What was on display in Brussels today was not the behavior of a strong, principled, and wise leader. Enough. This isn’t good for the United States and there are people across the aisle – as the Senate vote yesterday clearly showed – who know it and need to say it.”
Kerry was referring to a Tuesday Senate vote in favor of a nonbinding resolution that supports NATO. The vote, which was largely ceremonial, passed 97-2. Rand Paul and Mike Lee voted against the resolution, according to Axios.
As for John Kerry, he and Donald Trump have been at odds before. In May, reports emerged suggesting that Kerry had been engaged in a sort of “shadow diplomacy” by attempting to preserve some aspects of the Iran nuclear deal that he hoped negotiate. Trump called those actions “possibly illegal,” while Kerry’s office noted that it’s not uncommon for former Secretaries of State to maintain relationships with their former foreign counterparts.”