German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday criticized former American President Donald Trump's suggestion that the U.S. might not protect NATO allies who are not spending enough on defense from a potential Russian invasion.
"Any relativization of NATO's guarantee of assistance is irresponsible and dangerous and is solely in Russia's interest. Nobody is allowed to play or deal with Europe's security," Scholz told a joint news conference in Berlin with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
"NATO's promise of protection applies without restriction. All for one. One for all," he reiterated, evoking the famous Article 5 of the UN Charter.
On Saturday, at a political rally in U.S. state of South Carolina, Trump, the likely Republican nominee in this year's U.S. presidential election, said that during his time in office, he warned NATO allies that he "would encourage" Russia "to do whatever the hell they want" to countries that are "delinquent" in their defense spending.
Also pointing to Trump's NATO remarks. Tusk said one should "not take every statement so serious but we must do everything we can to ensure that transatlantic cooperation remains the foundation of our security."
"There is no good alternative for close and good cooperation in this area between European NATO members and the United States," added Tusk.
During his term as U.S. president, Trump's relations with NATO were notoriously rocky, with the president reportedly seeking behind closed doors for the U.S. to leave the longstanding alliance.