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World leaders blast Trump over threat to abandon NATO allies

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(NewsNation) — World leaders are voicing outrage over former President Donald Trump’s remarks suggesting he would “encourage” Russia to take action against NATO countries that fail to meet financial obligations.

These comments were made during a Trump rally in South Carolina over the weekend, where he’s preparing for a high-stakes Republican primary against former UN ambassador Nikki Haley.

Haley fired back addressing Trump’s NATO comments, warning against aligning with a “thug,” referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Speaking in South Carolina Monday morning, Haley criticized Trump’s behavior, stating he is acting unbecoming of a president.

“I look at what Donald Trump said on Saturday, and it made me sick to my stomach. He said that NATO, that if any of those countries aren’t paying their fair share, that not only would he not defend them, but that he would encourage Putin to take over them. Putin kills his opponents. This guy’s a thug,” Haley said in response to Trump’s NATO comments.

Over the weekend in South Carolina, Trump stated Russia “should be able to do whatever the hell they want” to NATO members who don’t meet their defense spending targets.

Trump’s comments received swift criticism from NATO’s leader, who warned his stance jeopardizes the safety of U.S. troops and their allies.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally, said he “disagreed with the way the former president said his remarks.”

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie issued a stronger rebuke, citing this as evidence of Trump’s unfitness to be president.

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“This is why I’ve been saying for a long time that he’s unfit to be president of the United States,” former Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said in an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

The White House also rejected Trump’s comments, calling them “appalling and unhinged.”

Haley also criticized Trump’s comments about her husband. On Monday morning, she sent another message to supporters stating that Trump’s behavior is “beneath someone running to serve as commander in chief.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.