AP Photo/Evan Vucci

‘Stop Whining About Trump’ Outgoing Dutch PM Says to European Leaders

Mark Rutte, the Netherlands’s outgoing prime minister, is angling for the job of NATO Secretary General. And he’s heard entirely too much lately about America’s Donald Trump and what he might do if he’s elected in November.

“We should stop moaning and whining and nagging about Trump,” Rutte told the Munich Security Conference.

He added: “It’s up to the Americans. I’m not an American, I cannot vote in the U.S. We have to work with whoever is on the dance floor.”

Rutte has served as Dutch prime minister since 2010 and has been around the block a few times with NATO partners on the right and left. And right now, he’s most concerned about NATO coming to the aid of Ukraine.

The outgoing Dutch prime minister believes that there’s “no doubt” that Russian President Vladimir Putin would “test NATO” if Russia prevails in Ukraine. He claims to be “cautiously optimistic” about the U.S. coming through with the $61 billion aid package promised by Biden.

“And all that whining and moaning about Trump. I hear that constantly over the last couple of days. Let’s stop doing that,” Rutte said,

Meanwhile, Germany and France are in preliminary discussions to develop a European nuclear deterrent in the event the U.S. falters in its obligations. Current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says such an arrangement would be “not helpful” in that it would undermine faith in the U.S. would at “a time when we really need credible deterrence”.

Also at the Munich conference was Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, who said he would invite Trump to the front lines if he was elected in November.

“If Mr Trump will come, I’m ready to go with him to the frontline,” he said. “I think if we’re in dialogue [about] how to finish the war, we have to demonstrate to … decision makers what does it mean the real war, not [on] Instagram. Real war.”

Zelensky also commented on the U.S. Congress going on vacation with Ukraine aid in limbo.

“Please remember everyone that dictators do not go on vacation,” he said.

Zelensky is pining for an invitation from NATO to have Ukraine join the alliance. This is not going to happen as long as Vladimir Putin is president of Russia. But Zelensky isn’t giving up hope.

“We will have a strong relationship, and Mark will have to answer a difficult question from Ukraine if he becomes NATO Secretary General – and I hope he will. This question is [about granting] an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO,” the Ukrainian president said, adding that he expects Rutte to assist in implementing this goal.

“I know Mark, and I am sure that he will preserve the unity in NATO, and this is what’s relevant. There are many challenges, and we know where they are,” Zelensky added, alluding to remarks made by US presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.

 Stoltenberg is set to step down from his NATO post in October. If the war is still goinga t that time, Rutte is not likely to realize his dream of succeeding him.

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