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Reversing a key part of his campaign rhetoric, President Donald Trump told lawmakers on Tuesday that the US stands firmly behind the Nato alliance, adding that money is “pouring in” following American demands that its partners intensify their military spending.
“We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two World Wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism,” Mr Trump said during his first address to Congress since taking office last month. “But our partners must meet their financial obligations,” he added.
Then, in a departure from his prepared remarks, Mr Trump said that the money was now “pouring in”.
Mr Trump’s defence secretary, James Mattis, met with Nato counterparts earlier in February in an attempt to reassure them that the US will stand behind its allies, while warning that that the US is willing to “moderate” its commitment if they do not speed up plans to spend more on defence.
Only five of 28 Nato members meet a target to spend 2 per cent of economic output on defence, which has prompted Mr Trump to accuse allies of freeloading on American defence largesse during his election campaign.