Trump publicly commits to NATO mutual-defense provision

Weeks after omitting any mention of NATO’s collective defense provisions during a speech at the treaty organization’s headquarters, President Donald Trump on Friday explicitly recommitted the U.S. to its Article 5 obligations.

“Well, I’m committing the United States, and have committed, but I’m committing the United States to Article 5,” the president said in response to a question from a Romanian reporter. “Yes, absolutely I’d be committed to Article 5.”

Trump been critical of NATO since his presidential campaign, when he labeled the treaty “obsolete” and openly questioned whether the U.S. would make good on the treaty’s communal defense obligations for nations who have not spent enough on their own militaries. As president, he has railed against NATO members who do not meet the agreed-upon 2 percent of their gross domestic product on defense and has claimed credit for increasing military spending among member states.

“Certainly we are there to protect and that’s one of the reasons that I want people to make sure we have a very, very strong force, by paying the kind of money necessary to have that force,” Trump said.

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