During the call, both Trump and Merkel came to an agreement that NATO does, in fact, serve an important purpose, which is a notable revelation, given Trump’s non-committal comments about the military alliance in the past, the Associated Press reports.
However, in keeping to the message he’s delivered previously, Trump said that other countries part of the alliance have to step up and pay their fair share.
Surprisingly, the joint statement released on the details of the call made no mention of any discussion on refugees, even though during his campaign, Trump knocked Merkel and said she was ruining Germany by letting migrants flood into the country.
“I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals, you know, taking all of the people from wherever they come from,” Trump told the German newspaper Bild in an interview earlier in January.
Some 900,000 migrants entered Germany in 2015.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Friday during her meeting with Trump in the White House that he is definitely on board with continuing the U.S.’s involvement with NATO.
“On defense and security cooperation, we’re united in our recognition of NATO as the bulwark of our collective defense, and today we’ve reaffirmed our unshakable commitment to this alliance,” May said. “Mr. President, I think you said, you confirmed that you’re 100 percent behind NATO.”
Trump’s stance on NATO now puts him in much closer alignment to Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who has made a point to stress the crucial role NATO plays on his first official day as head of the Pentagon. Mattis spoke with German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in both cases underscoring the U.S.’s commitment to the military alliance and calling it “unshakable.”
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