President Donald Trump on Thursday explicitly endorsed NATO’s mutual defense clause after failing to do so during his previous European trip.
Speaking in Warsaw, Poland, Trump defended his calls for allies in the 28-member North Atlantic Treaty Organization to pay more for their defense. He then endorsed Article 5, which ensures that allies will come to each other’s defense in the event of an attack.
“To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated — not merely with its words but with its actions — that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment,” Trump said.
“Words are easy, but actions are what matters. And for its own protection, Europe — and you know this, everybody knows this, everybody has to know this — Europe must do more.”
Trump, who won the White House with an anti-global message, has repeatedly bashed NATO and the European Union, which have formed the basis of U.S.-Europe cooperation in the decades since World War II. At a NATO summit in May, Trump declined to explicitly endorse Article 5, creating unease among European leaders at the event.
The ceremony in Brussels dedicated a memorial to the only time NATO has invoked that automatic defense clause — after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — when those same NATO nations came the America’s defense by sending troops to Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Trump’s doubts about committing to Article 5, which started when he was a candidate, came as Russia has become more militarily assertive. He eventually publicly committed the U.S. to the clause during a press conference in June, saying: “I’m committing the United States to Article 5.”
Trump also said Thursday that “a strong Europe is a blessing to the West and the world.”
Trump endorses NATO's mutual defense pact in Poland, after failing to do so on first Europe trip