A senior European politician recently shared how Donald Trump had once warned the EU that the United States would not come to its aid if it were ever to be attacked.
According to French European Commissioner Thierry Breton, the former president told European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that he would not provide help.
Trump supposedly said, “You need to understand that if Europe is under attack, we will never come to help you and to support you.” He went on to say that the U.S. would be leaving the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: “By the way, NATO is dead, and we will leave; we will quit NATO.”
Going into more detail about the tense meeting, Breton also claimed that Trump then added, “By the way, you owe me $400 billion, because you didn’t pay, you Germans, what you had to pay for defense.”
Sounding the alarm
The French European Commissioner shared what happened in 2020 at a recent European Parliament event in Brussels. “That was a big wake-up call and he may come back,” he explained, referring to Trump’s possible return to the White House.
Time to face the future
Breton continued, “So, now more than ever, we know that we are on our own, of course. We are a member of NATO, almost all of us, of course we have allies, but we have no other options but to increase drastically this pillar in order to be ready [for] whatever happens.”
An expensive proposal
Breton himself has recently made a push for the European Union to bolster its self-defense capabilities, pitching a €100 billion fund to boost the defense industry’s production of weaponry and incentivize cross-border collaboration.
Contrary to Trump, current President Biden has been extremely European-friendly throughout his term, even issuing a joint statement with Von der Leyen in March 2023 that committed to addressing climate change, an EU-US inflation reduction act task force, and working together to support countries globally as they develop their economies.
In the joint statement, it was acknowledged that the US and the EU stood strong and united against “Russia’s illegal, unjustifiable, and unprovoked war against Ukraine.” It was also written that “the United States and the European Union are working to reinforce, through transatlantic cooperation, our essential security interests and the resilience of our economies.”
Trump’s approach is a sharp contrast to Biden’s. The former president, while in office, called the EU a “foe” and previously referred to Brussels as a “hell hole.” He has also vowed to strike a peace deal with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on the war in Ukraine.
Brace for Trump’s return
Francois Hollande, the former president of France, has warned the EU to prepare itself for Trump’s possible re-election. In an email to POLITICO, he wrote, “Europe must be ready to face any situation linked to the results of the U.S. elections. In a democracy, there is always the risk that the worst candidate can be elected.”
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst
The email continued, “The people decide. Trump has been president. He can become president again, even if today he faces a lot of legal trouble. What we need to prepare for is the United States distancing itself from European affairs and the possible unraveling of the transatlantic alliance.”
Not all European leaders, however, are worried about Trump’s potential re-election. Hungary’s authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has publicly thrown his support to Trump, and Trump has praised him in return.
Trump is currently battling a wealth of legal challenges in the run-up to the 2024 election, in which he is the GOP front-runner. Europe’s leaders can only sit, wait, and hope for a favorable outcome.