Biden Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: NATO Proponents Warn of Trump Threats to Leave Alliance
Last week, NATO proponents, including national and battleground-state ethnic leaders, former NATO officials, and former U.S. ambassadors, joined a virtual forum to highlight Trump's ongoing threats to leave the alliance, which the leaders described as "dangerous" and "unforgivable." The leaders also commended Joe Biden's commitment to "championing the military alliance and its record as a bulwark for the people of central and eastern Europe against Russian authoritarianism and aggression."
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The Toledo Blade: NATO proponents warn of Trump threats to leave alliance
[By Mike Sigov, 10/8/20]
President Trump's threats to withdraw from NATO pose a risk of increased Russian menace to the homelands of American voters of Central and Eastern European descent, said Peter Ujvagi, a Hungarian-born former Toledo city councilman, who joined other opponents of President Trump's approach in a virtual forum Thursday.
"NATO has been a critical factor in [helping maintain] peace and in strengthening freedom and democracy in the world.... ," Mr. Ujvagi said. "It is with unbound dismay that so many in my community are seeing what is happening in Washington and how President Trump's disdain and dismissal of decades-old leaders and partners and [his] refusal to work together and instead trying to use almost threats, bluster, and intimidation as a way for his diplomatic efforts."
Mr. Ujvagi, a former county official, state representative, and community leader who in 2018 was nationally recognized for immigrant rights advocacy, was speaking during a virtual press conference streamed live via Zoom. Participants included national and battleground-state ethnic leaders, former NATO officials, and former US ambassadors.
The Associated Press in June reported that President Trump was ordering a reduction in U.S. troops in Germany from about 34,500 to 25,000.
That was after Mr. Trump criticized Germany for failing to pay enough for its own defense, calling the NATO ally "delinquent" for not meeting a 2014 goal for members to halt budget cuts and move toward spending at least 2 percent of gross national product on defense by 2024, the Associated Press reported.
In 2019, President Trump repeatedly discussed the prospect of withdrawing from the defensive military alliance with White House officials, according to The New York Times.
Mr. Ujvagi also thanked retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, who participated in the event, for his work and his understanding of "the critical nature of Central and Eastern Europe."
During the event, organizers showed a video billed as one "highlighting President Trump's ongoing threats to NATO." They also affirmed former Vice President Joe Biden's "commitment to championing the military alliance and its record as a bulwark for the people of central and eastern Europe against Russian authoritarianism and aggression."
In conclusion of the 60-minute press conference, retired U.S. Ambassador Mark Brzezinski, the event moderator, talked "directly to people who are like [himself] Slavic Americans or East European Americans" and whose "parents and grandparents spent six decades of blood, sweat, and tears here in the United States to get the Central and East European countries free and independent."
"NATO is now synonymous with a democratic transatlantic community...," Mr. Brzezinski said. "The gratuitous diminishment of NATO by President Trump threatens us — Americans — and our security, but no one is more directly threatened … than the people of Central and Eastern Europe whom our parents and grandparents did a lot to see free. That is unforgivable."
Representatives of President Trump re-election campaign could not be reached for comment.
Joseph R. Biden, Biden Campaign Press Release - ICYMI: NATO Proponents Warn of Trump Threats to Leave Alliance Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/347135