With long-standing European alliances facing new strain, President Donald Trump chastised North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member nations for not paying their fair share to protect the long-standing pact and declined to explicitly endorse its mutual defense agreement.
As a presidential candidate, Trump railed against NATO's financial burden-sharing, suggesting the US might only come to the defense of countries that meet the alliance's guidelines - for committing 2 percent of their gross domestic product to military spending.
In Trump's speech at the NATO summit in Brussels, he did briefly mention the "the commitments that bind us together as one", but he didn't give NATO what it wanted: an explicit endorsement of Article 5, which says that when invoked, NATO allies must aid a fellow ally under attack.
Instead, he returned to a grievance about Europe's drop in defense spending since the end of the Cold War and failed to publicly commit to NATO's founding Article V rule which stipulates that an attack on one ally is an attack against all.
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Speaking to Trump's visit to the NATO headquarters, Press Secretary Sean Spicer was quick to praise the responsiveness of NATO to Trump's comments and criticisms regarding a shared commitment among NATO allies to fight violence and conflict, particularly with the 2% of GDP commitment. "Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should be paying and what they are supposed to be paying for their defense".
President Donald Trump shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the U.S. Embassy, Thursday, May 25, 2017, in Brussels. Standing alongside his counterparts, the president effectively accused countries who do not meet NATO's goal of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic product of sponging off American taxpayers.
Trump's foreign tour ends in Italy on Friday and Saturday with a summit of the G7 wealthy countries - Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.S., and the UK. The leaders were lining up to take a "family photo", as is tradition at such summits. "We have to make up for the many years lost".
Trump was lavishly feted in Israel as well, embraced by a prime minister who despised his predecessor and was eager to flatter the new president.
"Some issues remain open, like climate and trade. But some issues remain open like climate and trade and I am not 100% sure that we - we means Mr. President and myself - that we have a common position, a common opinion, about Russian Federation", he said, adding that he and Mr. Trump were in agreement about Ukraine.