Outgoing Dutch PM tells Europe to stop ‘whining and nagging about Trump’

mark rutte

Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is likely to be the next secretary-general of NATO, urged fellow European leaders to stop “whining” about former President Trump.

The blunt admonition comes days after the GOP 2024 front-runner suggested the U.S. should not honor its NATO commitments if European countries do not increase their defense contribution to the North Atlantic alliance. Trump’s comments sparked outrage throughout Europe and provoked an immediate condemnation from President Biden’s White House. 

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

“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,” he added. 


Europe to stop 'whining and nagging about Trump'

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte addresses journalists during a visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 23, 2024. (REUTERS/Amel Emric)

Rutte, who is retiring from Dutch politics in July, said that Europe should increase its defense spending and ramp up ammunition production whether or not Trump returns to the White House in 2024. 

He also said it was in the continent’s interests to increase support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion. 

Rutte is the front-runner to succeed NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg, who will step down in October, according to Reuters. He has said he would not campaign for the job. 

Stoltenberg was among those who lambasted Trump’s comments this week, stating that the forme president’s rhetoric “undermines” the security of its members.


Dutch PM Mark Rutte meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte shake hands before their meeting at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, February 17, 2024. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS)

“The whole idea of NATO is that an attack on one ally will trigger a response from the whole alliance, and as long as we stand behind that message together, we prevent any military attack on any ally,” Stoltenberg said at a press conference Wednesday.

He continued, “Any suggestion that we are not standing up for each other, that we are not going to protect each other, that does undermine the security of all of us.”

The warning came after Trump offered harsh words for NATO allies at a campaign rally last week, going so far as to suggest that the U.S. would not defend NATO allies that do not contribute their full share.

Trump recalled a conversation he had with the president “of a big country,” who he says asked him if they did not increase their defense contribution to the North Atlantic alliance “and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?”


Former President Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a caucus night rally in Las Vegas, Thursday, February 8, 2024.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

“NATO was busted until I came along,” Trump said. “I said, ‘Everybody’s gonna pay.’ They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay, are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They couldn’t believe the answer.”

While Stoltenberg expressed concern at Trump’s remarks, the former president’s comment did spark a rush to confirm member countries’ contributions in the coming year.

The NATO chief announced that 18 of the alliance’s 31 members are on track to meet their pledges of contributing 2% of GDP to the group. European states are on track to contribute $380 billion this year, and Germany will meet its 2% pledge for the first time since the Cold War.

Rutte suggested that focusing on Trump’s comments only serves to distract from supporting Ukraine and meeting NATO’s commitments. 

“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, adding that after talking with U.S. politicians in Munich he was “cautiously optimistic” that Congress will pass the national security supplemental package with funding for Ukraine. 

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