After campaigning on the claim that NATO is obsolete only to reverse his stance after taking office, much anticipation centered on whether or not Trump would pledge support for Article 5 — NATO’s central tenet stating that an attack against one member would be treated as an attack against all. The article has been invoked only once when NATO joined the United States in unified response to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
In the lead-up to Trump’s NATO speech, his top international aides — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and Defense Secretary James Mattis — worked diligently to ensure he included his commitment to Article 5. Five sources confirmed for Politico that, the day before he would deliver it, a speech text had been finalized including the desired language.
The White House staff was so confident that the President would commit to Article 5 that one aide guaranteed the New York Times that Trump would pledge support in Brussels.
On the day of the speech, the President betrayed his advisers and America’s friends in the global community in one fell swoop. Trump made no mention of Article 5, instead lecturing our allies and berating them for not paying enough.
“They had the right speech and it was cleared through McMaster,” a source told Politico after being briefed by National Security officials. “As late as that same morning, it was the right one.”
“There was a fully coordinated other speech everybody else had worked on, said a miffed senior White House official.
“They didn’t know [the Article 5 reference] had been removed,” added a third source.
The sources told Politico that they believe the reference was either omitted by Trump himself or at the urging of notorious nationalists in the President’s regime, chief strategist Steve Bannon and policy aide Stephen Miller.
The official statement from the White House, as seen below in this clip of spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ fleeing today’s press briefing, is that they don’t know what happened to the reference:
Sanders says she doesn't know who took Article 5 reference out of NATO speech, flees briefing after 14 min of qs. "You could stay longer!" pic.twitter.com/u3lYKyF1Pd
— Tommy Xtophernobyl (@tommyxtopher) June 5, 2017
Regardless of how the most important of the original draft went missing, the final speech sent a clear message to the world that Trump’s America could not be counted on by our closest allies. It seems that Trump cannot be counted on by his friends back home either.
Sheila Norton is a writer with ten years of Capitol Hill experience. Subscribe to the OD Action email to get all the hottest news delivered right to your inbox every day at www.odaction.com