President Donald Trump said NATO was "obsolete" on the campaign trail, one of his many statements that infuriated people who know even a tiny bit about the world. (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is "the largest and most powerful military alliance in history," and its members are sworn to defend one another from attack and keep the peace in Europe.)

Donald Trump has since back-tracked. But in a baffling interview with the Associated Press, Trump defended his earlier position. He only said those ignorant things because he—seriously, he admitted this—didn't "know much about NATO."


From his interview with the AP:

TRUMP: They had a quote from me that NATO's obsolete. But they didn't say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn't in government. People don't go around asking about NATO if I'm building a building in Manhattan, right? So they asked me, Wolf ... asked me about NATO, and I said two things. NATO's obsolete — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, "And the reason it's obsolete is because of the fact they don't focus on terrorism." You know, back when they did NATO there was no such thing as terrorism.


(NATO has officially fought terrorism since 1980, according to The Hill, including in 2001 when it invoked Article 5 to respond to the 9/11 attacks. Article 5 is the "mutual defense" clause, according to the New Yorker, "that says an attack on one nation is considered an attack on all of them.")

Here are three metaphors for this situation:

It's like going to a job interview to be a chef, knowing you're only qualified to be a fry cook, and when they ask you about how to fillet a sea bass you just say, "f*ck it, NATO's obsolete."


It's like doing a book report on a My Dog Spot, but you were supposed to read To Kill a Mockingbird, so you just say "f*ck it, NATO's obsolete."

It's like running for president, with absolutely no idea what the president does, so you just say "f*ck it, NATO's obsolete." It's exactly like that.

For the record, Donald Trump repeated his "obsolete" claim in January, according to Business Insider.