Biden Backs NATO ‘Strongly, Strongly, Strongly’ in Video Message

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President Joe Biden said he “strongly, strongly, strongly” affirmed the U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance’s collective defense in a video of his Tuesday call with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg released by the White House.

The White House ordinarily releases only short statements on presidential calls, but the almost two-minute edited video of Biden’s conversation with Stoltenberg broke with norms in an implicit pivot from former President Donald Trump, who criticized and sometimes ridiculed the historic alliance over frustration that European allies weren’t spending more on defense.

“I want to reaffirm the United States’ commitment to Article 5, it’s a sacred commitment,” Biden said on the call, a reference to a provision in the NATO charter that commits members to rise to the defense of others in the pact. “And I intend to consult with you and our allies on all our plans.”

During the call, Stoltenberg invited Biden to attend the NATO summit in Brussels later this year.

Biden Backs NATO ‘Strongly, Strongly, Strongly’ in Video Message

Trump created waves during a May 2017 meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels, when he skipped a sentence in his prepared remarks pledging an “unwavering” commitment to Article 5 -- after calling the alliance “obsolete” during his first presidential campaign. Just over a year later, Trump threatened to pull out of the alliance during a leaders’ meeting if allies did not raise their defense spending to meat the 2% of GDP target adopted by the group.

Biden repeatedly highlighted Trump’s relationship with the alliance on the campaign trail, including with a campaign ad showing world leaders -- including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson -- captured on camera making fun of Trump during last year’s NATO meeting in London.

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