Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell breaks with Donald Trump on NATO

January 19, 2017 8:00 pm

President-elect gives the thumbs up after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader (R) at the Capitol in Washington, DC, November 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) “the most important military alliance” ever, breaking with Republican President-elect Donald Trump, who think NATO is “obsolete.”
NATO “is the most important military alliance in world history and is more important than it ever was,” McConnell said in an interview with McClathcyDC on Wednesday.
McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, made the comment came days after Trump rattled NATO members by calling the military alliance “obsolete.”
“One; that it was obsolete because it was designed many many years ago, and number two; that the countries weren’t paying what they’re supposed to pay,” Trump said last week in an interview with British daily The Times and German newspaper Bild.
Asked whether Trump understands NATO’s significance, McConnell refused to answer, saying, “You’ll have to ask him.”
Meanwhile, the powerful GOP figure hailed Trump’s picks for the Pentagon, Homeland Security and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
McConnell also took a different line with Trump on Russia, calling Moscow a “big problem.”
Relations between Russia and the US have plunged into a new low over Washington’s claims of Moscow’s intervention in last year’s US presidential election.
Despite reluctantly confirming US intelligence reports that accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of personally ordering cyber attacks to change the outcome of the November 8 vote, Trump keeps showing strong willingness to work with the Russian head of state.
In the buildup to the election, McConnell was at odds with Trump and only endorsed the Manhattan billionaire after he secured the Republican nomination.
 “It was pretty obvious he doesn’t know a lot about issues,” he said of Trump in june.
Obamacare repeal
Elsewhere in the interview, McConnell referred to Republican plans for repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, outgoing President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.
Republicans, including Trump, view Obamacare as an excessive government intrusion into the healthcare market and argue that it is detrimental to economic growth since it burdens businesses. They say they have a plan to replace it but have offered few details.
McConnell said the law has led to “higher premiums and co-payments and higher deductibles and chaos in the private health insurance market.” He refused to talk about GOP’s replacement plan.
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