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>"You gotta pay your bills," said the former president notorious for not paying his own bills.

Former President Donald Trump delivered an alarming message to U.S. allies during a Saturday rally where he outlined a scenario in which he would “encourage” Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to other NATO members.

Speaking to a crowd in Conway, South Carolina, Trump told a story that cast himself as a tough-talking negotiator.

“NATO was busted until I came along,” he began. “I said, ‘Everybody’s going to pay.’ They said, ‘Well, if we don’t pay are you still going to protect us?’ I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ They couldn’t believe the answer.”

He rehashed the story a few moments later.

“One of the presidents of a big country stood up and said, ‘Well sir, if we don’t pay and we’re attacked by Russia, will you protect us?’ I said, ‘You didn’t pay? You’re delinquent?’ He said, ‘Yes, let’s say that happened.’ No, I would not protect you. In fact, I would encourage them to do whatever the hell they want,” Trump said.

“You gotta pay. You gotta pay your bills,” he added.

The audience cheered loudly for the former president, who is notorious for failing to pay bills on the campaign trail and in his past business endeavors.

It is not clear whether the scenario Trump described actually happened. Trump frequently takes credit for supposedly pressuring other NATO members into contributing more funding during the course of his first term.

But it’s a flawed claim.

As The Washington Post and other fact-checkers have noted, NATO member nations pledged to boost their funding over a period of 10 years at a 2014 summit held to address Russian aggression. Direct NATO funding has been increasing since then — although not at the pace needed to reach the goal set in 2014.