Answering questions during his press briefing today, President Trump was asked about NATO’s Article 5 mutual-defense provision and offered his first public, direct confirmation that he is committed to military mutual defense of all other NATO member nations.
This had been a question for some time, with Trump’s previous comments on the alliance suggesting he was limiting his willingness to provide military support only to certain NATO member nations whom he felt were sufficiently committed to supporting the US.
The lack of a direct confirmation of this position would not normally be a big deal, except that other nations have been speculating on Trump’s position based on him calling NATO “obsolete” during the presidential campaign, and while other US officials insisted nothing had changed, Trump himself seemed to be going out of his way to dance around the issue.
It was particularly surprising, given his past evasiveness on the matter, that he was so quick with a pledge to “absolutely” be committed to Article 5 when asked directly about it today during his visit with the Romanian president. Whether that ends questions about Trump’s commitment from other NATO members, however, remains to be seen.