After Glaring Omission In Brussels, Trump Commits To NATO's Article 5
- Author: Sonia Alvarado Jun 10, 2017,
Jun 10, 2017, 7:06
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He knows it; Comey knows it; everyone knows and Trump confirmed it Friday during a Rose Garden news conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
"We face many threats, but I stand here before you with a clear message: the U.S. commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance and to Article 5 is unwavering".
"And certainly we are there to protect", Trump added, saying this is why the U.S. is "paying the kind of money necessary to have that force".
That's another reason Trump's Article 5 statement today is so jarring: He chose to commit to America's most important alliance in an answer to a question that hadn't even explicitly asked about it, not in his prepared statement.
For months, organizers of NATO's leaders meeting in Brussels tried to orchestrate an event that would extract that very phrase from the president in order to ease transatlantic concerns.
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According to Politico, Trump's defense and security advisors included in his prepared speech a clear endorsement of the mutual defense pledge, but Trump himself struck it out just before speaking.
"Your involvement makes so many nations aware of the fact that we have to share the burden in NATO", Iohannis said to Trump during the news conference.
"In my opinion, we have to be very clear, very simple, very straightforward if we talk about Russian Federation, and with Russian Federation", he said.
"The blockade is hindering USA military actions in the region and the campaign against the IS", Tillerson said, using an acronym for the extremist group Islamic State. Asked if he would speak to the issue under oath, Trump said: "100 percent". These complaints, along with Trump's prior unwillingness to comment on Article 5, have alienated allied leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has called for greater independence from the U.S.in developing Europe's defense.
While Trump surrogates such as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis have repeatedly spoken of USA commitment to the article, Trump has been reluctant since calling the alliance "obsolete" while on the campaign trail.