Donald Trump says he would encourage Russia to attack Nato allies who pay too little
Donald Trump has been rebuked by President Joe Biden after proclaiming during a campaign rally in South Carolina that he would “encourage” Russia “to do whatever the hell they want” to any country that is “delinquent” in meeting its financial commitments to Nato.
President Biden was incensed by the remarks, commenting: “Serving as commander-in-chief is the ultimate responsibility and one that should weigh heavily on the individuals that hold this office.
“Trump’s admission that he intends to give Vladimir Putin a greenlight for more war and violence, to continue his brutal assault against a free Ukraine, and to expand his aggression to the people of Poland and the Baltic States are appalling and dangerous.
“Sadly, they are also predictable coming from a man who is promising to rule as a dictator like the ones he praises on day one if he returns to the Oval Office.”
Mr Trump was also chastised by his primary opponent Nikki Haley, who warned him not to “take the side of a thug”, while his rhetoric drew a divided reaction from his fellow Republicans.
The candidate otherwise spent the Super Bowl weekend vainly courting the support of pop superstar Taylor Swift.
Recap: Biden slams Trump’s ‘greenlight’ to Putin after he threatens Nato
Here’s Andrew Feinberg on his predecessor’s alarming attitude to America’s military allies, whom he seems only to happy to throw to the wolves over an unpaid bill or two.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 15:00
‘I have zero concern’: Marco Rubio defends Trump over Nato comments
Here’s the Florida senator sinking to utterly Tim Scott/Ted Cruz levels of personal humiliation in defence of Trump’s latest appalling comments, having once called him out as a threat to American democracy.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 14:30
Republicans insist Biden’s reportedly failing memory is ‘security risk’
Democrats, however, consider such arguments in the wake of Robert Hur’s report “cheap trash” and are already producing the superior derisory slogans.
Eric Garcia and Katie Hawkinson have the latest.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 14:00
Biden aiming to use Trump border deal failure as campaign weapon
The president believes he can use the collapse of the Senate’s draft border deal last week as a means of illustrating the extent of Trump’s entirely counter-productive and malign influence over Republicans in Congress, arguing that they now work only for their orange overlord, not the American people who elected them to office.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 13:30
New York fraud trial: Judge fires back at Trump attorneys in scathing letter
The judge overseeing Donald Trump’s fraud trial is imminently expected to issue a final judgment in a sprawling civil case that could seriously damage the former president’s family business and brand-building real estate empire.
That is, if he can figure out if one of Trump’s co-defendants lied in his courtroom.
Judge Arthur Engoron is pushing Trump lawyers, the state attorney general’s office and the Manhattan district attorney for “anything” they can tell him about former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg reportedly negotiating a plea deal with New York City prosecutors for his testimony in the civil fraud trial.
If Weisselberg is now “admitting he lied under oath in my courtroom at this trial,” the judge wants to know about, he wrote to attorneys last week. “I do not want to ignore anything in a case of this magnitude,” he said, according to court documents.
Lawyers for Trump’s adult sons and co-defendants called the request “unprecedented, inappropriate and troubling.”
Alex Woodward has this on Judge Engoron’s response.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 13:00
Trump says he saw migrant shoplifting a refrigerator ‘the other day’
Trump’s Nato remarks were not the only odd things he had to say this weekend, naturally.
On Friday, he addressed a crowd of supporters at the National Rifle Association’s Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he made several surprising comments, including how he saw a migrant stealing a refrigerator and claimed the state’s name would be changed if he isn’t re-elected president.
Michelle Del Rey offers this dispatch from the frontlines of insanity.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 12:30
Biden sends up Taylor Swift-Super Bowl conspiracy theories with ‘Dark Brandon’ meme
Here’s Anthony Cuthbertson on his campaign’s surprise decision to join TikTok, despite the White House banning government agencies from using the app.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 12:00
Truth Social: Trump appeals to Taylor Swift, gets scary and gloats over Biden’s memory
Aside from all that excitement, the candidate otherwise spent the Super Bowl weekend vainly courting the support of pop superstar Taylor Swift, claiming that there was no way she would endorse Joe Biden this year because she could not be “disloyal to the man who made her so much money”, adding that he likes her boyfriend Travis Kelce “even though he may be a Liberal, and probably can’t stand me”.
He’s also been engaging in some frankly rather alarming “final battle” rhetoric (he definitely didn’t incite an insurrection, you say?) and gloating over Robert Hur’s Biden report from last week, in which the Republican prosecutor got in some fairly outrageous political jabs at the president’s mental wellbeing.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 11:30
Trump draws further ire for attack on Haley’s husband
Also on an appallingly disrespectful military theme, the Republican made a point of questioning the absence of Nikki Haley’s husband from the campaign trail.
“Where’s her husband?”, he scoffed in Conway. “Oh, he’s away. He’s away! What happened to her husband? What happened to her husband. Where is he? He’s gone.”
CNN anchor Jake Tapper was just one of tens of thousands of commentators on X only too happy to provide him with the answer to his questions as to Major Michael Haley’s whereabouts.
Incidentally, has anyone seen Melania lately?
Haley herself hit back with admirable restraint, as you might expect, but, perhaps more damagingly, so did his own former defence secretary Mark Esper and Georgia’s Republican governor Brian Kemp, both of whom questioned his respect for America’s servicemen and women.
The phrase “suckers and losers” comes to mind, as does “bone spurs”.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 11:00
‘Stupid thing to say’: Republicans divided on Trump threat to violate Nato defence pledge
Trump was also chastised by his primary opponent Nikki Haley over his Nato remarks, who warned him not to “take the side of a thug”.
His rhetoric meanwhile drew a divided reaction from his fellow Republicans, who might normally be expected to fall obediently in line.
John Bowden, Eric Garcia and Katie Hawkinson have more on that below.
Joe Sommerlad12 February 2024 10:30