Estonian Leader Hopes Donald Trump 'Would Be Well-Briefed on Foreign Affairs'
ABC News' Martha Raddatz spoke with Estonia’s leader on Trump and Putin.
“I would certainly hope that he would be well-briefed on foreign affairs, so that he knows who does what,” Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the president of Estonia, said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz.
Trump has repeatedly questioned the U.S. commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, refusing to guarantee military support to Baltic states if invaded by Russia.
“We have many NATO members that aren’t paying their bills,” Trump told The New York Times in July.
Ilves noted that his country, one of the most vulnerable to Russian aggression, is also one of the few NATO allies that meets the target spending of 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense. Following a meeting of Baltic leaders with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in Latvia where Biden reiterated America’s commitment to the security of Europe, Ilves said he’s not worried about “that rhetoric flying around.”
Ilves, who was raised in New Jersey and educated at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, said the biggest problem for Estonia is people who don’t know anything about Europe. But regarding Trump’s knowledge of foreign affairs, the Estonian president, noted for calling out a Trump supporter for improper spelling on Twitter last month, said, “I’m told it’s improving.”
“That’s very diplomatic of you,” Raddatz responded .
As for Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump has called for improved relations with, Ilves didn’t mince his words -- he sees no rhyme or reason to Putin’s aggression.
“I don't see a strategy given, especially, the severe economic problems they are facing,” Ilves said. “It’s more of an ad hoc 'let's try this let's try that.'”
He added he thinks Putin acts not out of craziness but to keep others off balance, with his biggest concern being not conscious Russian maneuvering, but “some stupid accident.”