Pentagon officials have spent the hours since President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani: Trump interview with Mueller ‘further away’ ACLU calls for Trump officials to hand over info on immigrant children Kushner to join Pompeo for meetings with Mexican leaders MORE departed NATO headquarters in Brussels reassuring U.S. allies of America’s commitment to the NATO alliance after the president suggested that the U.S.’s military commitment was up for discussion.
U.S. officials told NBC News that maintaining “predictability” among alliance members was important and that calls were made with foreign officials centered around “reinforcing alliance commitments” after Trump “made it clear alliance commitments were on the table.”
The Pentagon did not respond to NBC’s request for comment, but a senior administration official told the news outlet that Trump had echoed his public rhetoric about NATO commitments in private “aggressive” meetings with leaders of NATO member nations.
The president attacked “delinquent” U.S. allies upon arriving at the summit in his public remarks, returning to old criticism of the alliance centered around foreign nations’ contributions to the military organization.
“Many countries are not paying what they should. And, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money for many years back, where they’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them,” Trump said of NATO allies Thursday.
“So if you go back 10 or 20 years, you’ll just add it all up. It’s massive amounts of money is owed,” he added.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who met with Trump that day, threw cold water on reports of Trump’s rhetoric after the meeting, stating that Trump had not threatened to draw down U.S. cooperation levels with NATO.
“President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,” the French president said.