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As President Trump Bashes NATO, Republicans Are Largely Silent

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Date:
Wednesday, Jul 11, 2018

Then, as members of the delegation stared into their orange juice, Mr. Trump told them that Germany was a “captive” of Russia because it receives 9 percent of its natural gas from the country — though Mr. Trump erroneously said it was 70 percent.

Back in Washington, Mr. Roberts, making an escape into a Senate elevator, said he was focused on agriculture.

But was it helpful, what the president said about the alliance?

“It is what it is,” Mr. Roberts said as the elevator doors closed.

NATO was founded after World War II to guarantee the security of its 29 member nations, based on the principle that an attack on one was an attack on all. On Wednesday, as Mr. Trump attacked one member and attacked them all, Republicans on Capitol Hill for the most part declared themselves neutral.

Or, at least, they tried to uphold the alliance as they remained silent on the president’s bashing of it.

“NATO is indispensable. It’s as important today as it ever has been,” Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin, said at a news conference. About Mr. Trump’s remarks, he said, “We should not be criticizing our president while he’s overseas.”

Image Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, last month at the Capitol. “It is perfectly appropriate and beneficial to urge our allies to contribute their fair share toward our common defense,” he said Wednesday. CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times Image Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Wednesday in Washington. “The NATO alliance is something that’s incredibly important to us and to our citizens,” he said. CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A 9 of the New York edition with th e headline: Republicans Quiet After President’s Outburst . Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe