As Donald Trump jetted off to Japan this week for an international conference, airing his many grievances with the U.S. allies he was about to meet, 10 Democratic presidential candidates were back in Florida with a message for America’s old friends: Your long nightmare could soon be over.
And they seemed particularly keen on making things right with European countries that Trump claims are not spending enough on defense and are taking advantage of the United States on trade.
Asked during night two of the first round of Democratic debates which relationship abroad they would first reset as president, half of the candidates said they would reach out to Europe. “NATO will fall apart if [Trump] is elected for four more years,” said former Vice President Joe Biden. “It’s the single most consequential alliance in the history of the United States.”
Trump has repeatedly criticized NATO members for failing to hike military spending and has suggested that he wouldn’t come to the defense of those who weren’t paying as much as he would like.
Senators Kamala Harris and Michael Bennet, the author Marianne Williamson, and Representative Eric Swalwell all took positions similar to Biden’s, with Swalwell getting in an additional dig at Trump’s obsequiousness toward Vladimir Putin. “We’re breaking up with Russia and making up with NATO,” he declared.