Jens Stoltenberg, NATO: Trump ‘committed’ to the alliance.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Sunday that he does not expect the U.S. to withdraw from the alliance it helped create and praised President Donald Trump for pushing members to spend more on their armed forces.
“President Trump has been very clear. He is committed to NATO,” Stoltenberg told host John Roberts on “Fox News Sunday.“ “He’s stated this clearly just a few days ago and … at the NATO Summit in July.”
Stoltenberg’s comments come just days after the House voted overwhelmingly and on a bipartisan basis to support legislation that would tie Trump’s hands if he ever wanted to pull the U.S. out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by refusing to give federal dollars for such a withdrawal. Washington has long been awash in fears about Trump’s views on NATO. Those feelings were renewed Jan. 14 when The New York Times reported Trump had privately discussed pulling the U.S. out of NATO multiple times last year.
Trump has repeatedly and publicly slammed NATO members for failing to spend a promised 2 percent minimum of their GDPs on defense by 2024. Stoltenberg praised the president’s criticism and said it has sent a clear message to the alliance.
“There is no doubt that his very clear message is having an impact,” Stoltenberg said. “The message on the summit last summer was very clear with all the leaders sitting around the table. And the message was that the U.S., President Trump, he’s committed to NATO, but we need fair burden sharing.”
Soon after Stoltenberg’s appearance, Trump highlighted the NATO head’s comments on Twitter.
“Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, just stated that because of me NATO has been able to raise far more money than ever before from its members after many years of decline,” Trump said. “It’s called burden sharing. Also, more united. Dems & Fake News like to portray the opposite!”
NATO was formed in 1949 as a counterweight to Josef Stalin’s presumed ambitions in Europe. It has grown from 12 nations to 29 and now includes a number of former members of the Soviet bloc.