The unprecedented criminal charges against former president and 2024 presidential candidate Donald Trump “did not come up” in a meeting of NATO allies, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday.
The secretary spoke to reporters following the conclusion of the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels that saw Finland ascend to the alliance in a move prompted by Russia’s full-scale invasion and war against Ukraine.
Blinken, in response to a question from CNN, said that NATO allies did not bring up Trump’s appearance in a New York courtroom Tuesday where he pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts during an arraignment.
“I don’t do politics. I can tell you though, that the question you raised about the proceedings in New York, actually did not come up in my conversations with NATO colleagues,” Blinken said.
“Nor did I get questions about the durability of our approach,” the secretary added, addressing CNN’s question over concerns from European allies over how domestic U.S. politics impacts American policy toward Europe.
“I think people are very focused on what we’re actually doing.”
The summit had an “intense focus” on helping Ukraine prepare for a highly anticipated counteroffensive to retake territory that’s been seized from it by Russia, Blinken said.
“We’re also looking at what we can do over a longer period of time to build up Ukraine’s capacity to deter aggression, to defend against aggression, and, if necessary again in the future, to defeat aggression,” the secretary continued.
While President Biden has said the U.S. will support Ukraine for “as long as it takes,” such assurances are not guaranteed if a Republican administration takes over after the 2024 presidential elections.
While president, Trump criticized NATO allies as failing to deliver on its financial commitments to the alliance and raised doubts over U.S. responsibility to Article 5, the mutual defense commitment.
Since announcing his third candidacy for president, Trump has criticized U.S. assistance to Ukraine and said he would negotiate directly with Putin over the war.
Source: The Hill
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