President Trump Affirms Commitment to NATO's Article 5

Alvin Kelly
June 10, 2017

US President Donald Trump punched back Friday against James Comey, accusing the ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation director of lying about their private conversations - and saying he is "100 percent" willing to testify under oath. In Brussels last month, Trump rebuked fellow North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members for failing to meet the military alliance's financial benchmarks, asserting that leaves it weaker and shortchanges "the people and taxpayers of the United States". For the first time since taking office in January, Trump said he would honor the U.S.' commitment to NATO Article 5.

"Yes, absolutely I would be committed to Article 5", he concluded.

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.

"The visit will reaffirm America's steadfast commitment to one of our closest European allies and emphasize the administration's priority of strengthening NATO's collective defense", the White House said.

Trump's commitment to Article 5 came as a great relief to NATO's members from Eastern Europe, who are all greatly concerned with an increasingly aggressive Russian policy of expansionism that saw President Vladimir Putin's forces march into the Ukraine in 2014.

"The money is starting to pour in", Trump said, suggesting that the new defense spending by Romania was being paid into the alliance, rather than being spent internally.

"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. He used his speech there to demand that members pay more for the alliance's defense.

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The final version of Trump's May 23 speech featured a line describing Washington's commitment to Article 5 as "unwavering", Politico reported on Tuesday, a line Trump did not ultimately deliver.

He also pointed out that Romania, which stands of NATO's Eastern flank, heavily relies on the USA for defense.

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik). President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Romanian President Klaus Werner Iohannis in the Rose Garden at the White House, Friday, June 9, 2017, in Washington.

Trump and Iohannis' press conference comes hours after the U.S. President broke his silence on Twitter following the explosive testimony by fired FBI Director James Comey, declaring "total and complete vindication".

He also accused Qatar, a key USA 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".

White House aides said the president's support was implied even though he deliberately did not utter the words. "NATO and the European Union don't have to compete against each other".

"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.

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