Trump says US is committed to mutual support of NATO allies

Violet Tucker
June 12, 2017

President Donald Trump says the United States is committed to the mutual defense of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members, casting aside concerns that his failure to mention the commitment last month weakened the alliance.

Trump's comment tracks with Republican talking points about the hearing, where the Republican National Committee and White House urged surrogates to emphasize the fact that Comey clearly said the President was never an explicit subject of the Russian Federation probe during his time at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He used his speech there to demand that members pay more for the alliance's defense. He did not specifically mention Article 5, which has only been invoked once, after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis hold a joint news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House June 9, 2017 in Washington, DC.

"And certainly we are there to protect", Trump added, saying this is why the United States is "paying the kind of money necessary to have that force". On Friday he said he was "committing the United States to Article 5".

The White House later reaffirmed the commitment in a statement announcing that Trump will visit Poland next month as part of his second foreign trip.

"NATO members must finally contribute their fair share and meet their financial obligations, for 23 of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they're supposed to be paying for their defense", the president said at the time.

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Trump's omission in Brussels raised concerns on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Trump cryptically refused to say whether those private exchanges were taped - a matter at the heart of the conflicting accounts of what passed between them at a time when Comey was leading an FBI investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election and its ties to the Trump campaign.

On Friday, Trump noted that only a handful of NATO's 29 members - Montenegro joined just this week - were meeting the 2 percent pledge.

He also accused Qatar, a key US military partner, of funding terrorism "at a very high level", and said solving the problem in the tiny Persian Gulf nation could be "the beginning of the end of terrorism".

"Frankly, James Comey confirmed a lot of what I said - and some of the things that he said just weren't true", Trump said in his first on-camera remarks following Comey's testimony.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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