President Donald Trump, days after returning from a European trip to meet with NATO allies, waited until Friday to publicly announce U.S. commitment to NATO's Article 5, the group's collective security clause.
"I'm committing the United States to Article 5, and certainly we are there to protect," Trump said in response to a question during a news conference in the White House Rose Garden. "That's one of the reasons that I want people to make sure that we have a very, very strong force by paying the kind of money necessary to have that force."
NATO's Article 5 means an attack against one member of the alliance is considered an attack against all members. Trump, during a May 25 speech in Brussels, refused to affirm his commitment to Article 5, though he praised the alliance's quick response to the 9/11 attacks ― the only time in NATO history Article 5 has been invoked.
What's puzzling is that the president's staff had reportedly written a line explicitly stating his commitment into the Brussels speech, according to Politico. It was likely taken out at the last minute.
Trump's presence in Brussels "pretty much speaks for itself in terms of our commitment to NATO and all 13 articles that make up that treaty," press secretary Sean Spicer said at the time. "The broader point is the president remains entirely committed to NATO and all of the articles, not just Article 5."