Trump's isolationist instincts have seen administration officials and the president himself criticize the European Union and other traditional allies throughout his first term | Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images
John Bolton: Trump could pull US out of NATO
The former senior US official also said the UK should tell Europe to ‘stuff it’ over Brexit.
Donald Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton thinks there is a “very real risk” of the U.S. withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization if his old boss wins a second term.
In an interview with Times Radio Thursday, Bolton said that a “political guardrail” was the only thing that had stopped the U.S. from pulling out during Trump’s first term.
“It wasn’t that we convinced him that NATO is actually a pretty good alliance, but that he just saw he couldn’t go across the line and actually call for withdrawal … once he’s re-elected, that political guardrail, if it doesn’t disappear entirely, is substantially diminished.”
He added that if re-elected, “[Trump] doesn’t have to worry as much about the U.S. political blowback, and so his instincts or his inclinations have free rein.”
During his presidency Trump has threatened “grave consequences” and that the U.S. would “go our own way” if NATO members fail to meet his spending demands. Before he was elected and during the early stages of the 2016 campaign he described the alliance as “obsolete” — though he later moderated his rhetoric and confirmed he “wanted to keep NATO.”