Trump made drastic change to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation speech without telling advisers

Trump made drastic change to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation speech without telling advisers

In his speech, Trump said that America would "never forsake the friends that stood by our side" after 9/11, but did not explicitly lend his support to Article 5, in a break from every president since Harry S. Truman when speaking before North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters, according to Business Insider.

President Donald Trump's speech at the opening of NATO's new headquarters in Brussels was not the one that his national security team worked on, to their surprise and disappointment, Politico reports.

The three national security officials - Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster - had believed till the day before that the speech would include that line.

Defence secretary James Mattis, secretary of state Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser HR McMaster had all strongly pushed for the speech to include a line on U.S. commitment to the clause, Article 5, and had believed they had been heard, but were shocked at its omission when Trump finally spoke. "As late as that same morning (May 25), it was the right one", an unidentified official told Politico.

Key allies were looking for reassurance that the USA would live up to its commitments to defend fellow signatories, after a series of statements by candidate knocking the powerful alliance as expensive and obsolete.

During his speech, Trump instead lectured fellow leaders about living up to their commitments to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defense.

"They didn't know it had been removed", said a third source of the Trump national security officials on hand for the ceremony.

It is not clear if Trump made the decision himself to remove an Article 5 endorsement, or if White House advisors outside of the foreign policy team yanked the reference from the speech.

"White House press secretary Sean Spicer told traveling reporters after the speech that Trump is 'fully committed" to the mutual defense pact.

"We're not playing cutesy with this".

"I think it's extraordinary that there would be an expectation that the President would have to say explicitly that he supports Article 5".

During the same speech where he didn't mention Article 5, Trump went after allied nations for shirking their responsibilities.

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