Trump Finally Affirms NATO Collective Defense Clause

The president's words come weeks after he refused to explicitly endorse Article 5, which states that an attack on one is an attack on all

U.S. President Donald Trump. — REUTERS
Jun 10, 2017 at 12:07 PM ET

President Donald Trump on Friday said he would back NATO’s collective defense charter, a few weeks after he refused to endorse it on a trip to Brussels. Known as Article 5, it says that “an attack against one ally is considered as an against all allies.”

Trump made the declaration in response to a question during a joint press conference with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. “Absolutely, I’d be committed to Article 5,” he said.

The White House confirmed Trump’s commitment in a statement about his upcoming trip to Poland, saying: “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.”

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The president’s endorsement of NATO’s collective defense mechanism came weeks after he put members of the alliance on edge during his first trip abroad. In Brussels, Trump lectured NATO leaders about not paying their fair share for defense and why that’s unfair to the American people.

And although Trump said at the time that the U.S. would “never forsake the friends that stood by our side” after the September 11 terrorist attacks, other countries were uneasy about his refusal to explicitly state his backing for Article 5.

“The era in which we could fully rely on others is over to some extent,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in Munich a few days after meeting with Trump, according to Politico. “We Europeans have to take our fate into our own hands.”