Montenegro pushes back on Trump comments: Alliance with US is ‘strong and permanent’

Montenegro pushes back on Trump comments: Alliance with US is ‘strong and permanent’
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Montenegro's government on Thursday responded to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Freedom Caucus calls for Congress to work on shutdown through break Democrat previews Mueller questions for Trump’s AG nominee Trump inaugural committee spent ,000 on makeup for aides: report MORE’s suggestion that defending the small European nation could pull the United States into World War III.

“In today’s world, it does not matter how big or small you are, but to what extent you cherish the values of freedom, solidarity and democracy,” the government said in a statement.

“Therefore, the friendship and the alliance of Montenegro and the United States of America is strong and permanent.”

Trump, in an interview with Fox News’s Tucker Carlson aired Tuesday, was questioned on the U.S.’s obligations to NATO allies. Carlson asked why his son should “go to Montenegro to defend it from attack?"

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“I’ve asked the same question," Trump said in response. "Montenegro is a tiny country with very strong people. ... They are very aggressive people, they may get aggressive, and congratulations, you are in World War III."

Article 5 of NATO calls for member nations to defend other members if they are attacked, and has only been invoked once, after 9/11. Montenegro, a country of fewer than 1 million, was admitted into NATO in June 2017.

The interview aired following Trump’s return from a Helsinki summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin -- during which he shockingly cast doubt on the U.S. intelligence community's assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election -- as well as a contentious summit with NATO leaders in Belgium.

Montenegro’s statement also seems to hit at the aggressive stance Trump took at the NATO summit, where he demanded that alliance members spend more on defense. That position has frayed relationships with long-held allies.

“We build friendships, and we have not lost a single one, and at the same time we are able to boldly and defensively protect and defend our own national interests,” Montenegro’s government said.

Former Montenegrin President Ranko Krivokapić on Wednesday also hit back at Trump’s comments, questioning his knowledge of foreign policy called him “the strangest president in the history of the United States.”