'Ronald Reagan would be ashamed': Clinton campaign slams Donald Trump's controversial NATO suggestions

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Is There a Future for NATO in Trump's World?

Hillary Clinton's campaign slammed Donald Trump's suggestion that the US violate its agreement to automatically come to the protection of NATO allies if one of them were to be attacked.

In an interview published by the New York Times Wednesday night, the Republican nominee suggested that if a small NATO country was attacked by Russia on his watch, he would not defend it if it has not "fulfilled their obligations to us."

Originally formed as a bulwark against Russia in 1949, the underpinning of the NATO alliance stipulates that an attack on one nation is an attack on all, warranting a military response from all 28 member states.

RELATED: Images from this year's NATO Summit

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U.S. President Barack Obama holds a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. President Barack Obama (L-R) embraces Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron after a photo call with fellow NATO leaders, including Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel, alongside the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (L-R), Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko, U.S. President Barack Obama, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Francois Hollande stand for a photograph after their meeting alongside the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (L-R), U.S. President Barack Obama, France's President Francois Hollande, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel chat after a photograph following their meeting alongside the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko speaks during a joint press conference at the PGE National Stadium, the venue of the NATO summit, in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (C) talks to Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (R) and President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaiteare before the start of a working session at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks at a joint press conference at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a working session at the PGE National Stadium, the venue of NATO summit, in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
French President Francois Hollande speaks during a news conference at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, July 9, 2016. Agencja Gazeta/Slawomir Kaminski/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. POLAND OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN POLAND.
Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama attend a working session at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel
U.S. President Barack Obama (L) shakes hands with Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani next to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) and Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Iceland's Prime Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson arrive for a working session of the North Atlantic Council at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti and U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter speak as they arrive for a working session of the North Atlantic Council at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
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In a statement on Thursday morning, Clinton Senior Policy Advisor Jake Sullivan skewered Trump's response, saying that past NATO proponents like President Ronald Reagan would be horrified by Trump's suggestion.

"Ronald Reagan would be ashamed. Harry Truman would be ashamed," Sullivan said.

He added: "Republicans, Democrats and Independents who help build NATO into the most successful military alliance in history would all come to the same conclusion: Donald Trump is temperamentally unfit and fundamentally ill-prepared to be our Commander in Chief."

This isn't the first time Trump has expressed skepticism about NATO.

In an interview with Bloomberg earlier in the campaign, Trump suggested that the NATO alliance "may be obsolete."

"NATO was set up a long time ago, many, many years ago. Things are different now," Trump said. "We're paying too much."

Trump's criticism of NATO is rooted in the fact that following the end of the Cold War, some member nations began failing to spend 2% of their annual GDP on defense, a requirement to remain in NATO. However, with an increasingly aggressive Russia, some key member states have upped their defense spending at the urging of the Obama administration.

Experts argue that the outsized American role in NATO allows the US to maintain outsize influence over the vision and direction of NATO operations.

RELATED: Inside the Republican National Convention

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A delegate studies a copy of the Republican platform document that reflect the policies of the Republican Party that will be voted on at the RNC, at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli sneaks in a quick hot dog on the floor of the Republican National Convention as he discusses a controversial fight over the RNC rules with a delegate (R) at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Oregon alternate RNC delegate Nathan Dahlin wears an assortment of political buttons at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
A vendor shows off Donald Trump t-shirts for sale at one of the RNC Convention Stores inside the arena selling goods to delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. July 18, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk
Delegates hold a campaign sign for Donald Trump, presumptive 2016 Republican presidential nominee, during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A delegate attends the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Delegates react to a rule committee proposal on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Diana Shores from Farmville, VA (C) protests a roll call vote on the floor on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A delegate in patriotic dress on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as its presidential nominee. Some 2,000 delegates descended on a tightly secured Cleveland arena where Trump's wife will take center stage later in the day to make a personal pitch to voters that her billionaire husband is the best candidate for the White House. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A delegate wear an American flag cowboy hat while waiting at a food stand during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (2nd L) along with other delegates from Virginia chant for a rule call vote on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
A delegate on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as its presidential nominee. Some 2,000 delegates descended on a tightly secured Cleveland arena where Trump's wife will take center stage later in the day to make a personal pitch to voters that her billionaire husband is the best candidate for the White House. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A Wisconsin delegate on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A delegate holds a campaign bumper sticker for Donald Trump, presumptive 2016 Republican presidential nominee, during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Shoes worn by a delegate on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as its presidential nominee. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Robert 'Mike' Duncan, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, speaks during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Delegates react to a rule committee proposal on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) speaks during the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)
Delegates react to a rule committee proposal on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A delegate protests a rule committee proposal on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A delegate protests a rule committee proposal on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Delegates from Texas wave their hats in the air on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A Florida delegate poses for the media on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
A delegate gets a picture taken with a Trump supporter on the floor on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. The Republican Party opened its national convention Monday, kicking off a four-day political jamboree that will anoint billionaire Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Delegate Beverly Gossage of Eudora, KS attends the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Delegates on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) gestures as he speaks on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Tennesee Delegate Nate Mitchell sports a coonskin hat on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Delegates on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Alexandra smith, national chairman of the College Republican National Committee, smiles during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Linda Lingle, former governor of Hawaii, smile during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Kimberly Yee, a Republican from Arizona, speaks during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Matt Walter, president of the State Leadership Committee, gestures while speaking during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A delegate takes a selfie in front of a banner in support of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the opening day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans arena in Cleveland, Ohio on July 18, 2016. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Bill Schuette, Michigan attorney general, speaks during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Bob Little, delegate from Michigan salutes during the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Larry Householder, former speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, speaks during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 18: Jeff Larson, CEO of the Republican National Convention, speaks on the first day of the Republican National Convention on July 18, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicks off on July 18. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Delegates speak during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on Monday, July 18, 2016. The day before the start of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Reince Priebus said Donald Trump has to use the gathering to convince Americans he can be presidential. Photographer: John Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Throughout the campaign, Trump has regularly expressed skepticism with longtime strategic partnerships with other nations, claiming that the US takes on too much military burden with Western Europe and countries like Japan and South Korea.

The Republican presidential nominee has floated the idea of countries like Japan becoming nuclear powers in order to defend themselves from attack.

"Maybe they would be better off — including with nukes, yes, including with nukes," Trump said on "Fox News Sunday" in April.

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