Bipartisan senators reintroduce bill to prevent Trump from withdrawing from NATO
A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday reintroduced a bill that would prevent the president from withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) without Senate approval.
The bill, introduced by four Democrats and four Republicans, would require two-thirds approval from the Senate for a president to suspend, terminate or withdraw the United States from NATO.
“President Trump’s repeated threats to withdraw from NATO are dangerous,” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement announcing the bill’s reintroduction. “Our NATO allies have fought alongside our troops since World War II, yet President Trump disparages these nations and cozies up to our adversaries.”
The other co-sponsors are Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine).
The same bill was introduced last year after Trump rattled NATO allies at a July summit in Brussels. The sponsors last time were Kaine, Gardner, Reed and the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
The reintroduction comes after a New York Times report that Trump told aides several times last year that he wants to withdraw from NATO.
One of the occasions when Trump reportedly raised the issue of withdrawal was the lead-up to the NATO summit in July, when he told his top national security officials he did not see the point of the alliance and thought it was a drain on the United States.
Right now, presidents are required to get the consent of the Senate to enter into treaties. Article 13 of the NATO treaty requires a country give a one-year “notice of denunciation” before it can exit NATO.
In addition to requiring Senate approval for Trump to withdraw, the bill reintroduced Thursday would authorize the Senate Legal Counsel and the General Counsel of the House to challenge in court any attempt by the administration to withdraw from NATO without the Senate’s consent.
In statements touting the resolution, the co-sponsors stressed the importance of a strong NATO alliance.
“NATO is more important than ever with Russia’s growing subversive activities in the region and beyond,” Rubio said. “It is critical to our national security and the security of our allies in Europe that the United States remain engaged and play an active role in NATO.”