White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday questioning President Trump's commitment to Article 5 of the NATO treaty is "a bit of a silly discussion." Hours later, a report purported to show the exact language Trump removed from his speech at NATO headquarters.
In a meandering answer to a question about the circumstances surrounding the content of Trump's speech, Spicer told reporters the president's fidelity to Article 5 "speaks for itself." Article 5 of the NATO treaty states that an attack on one member of the alliance is an attack on all members.
"The idea we would recommit ourselves to something we were clearly there to celebrate seems a bit silly," Spicer said.
"I don't know about the contents of the speech. Frankly, it's a bit of a silly discussion because, as we addressed at the time, the president's presence at an Article 5 commemoration and his discussion about invoking Article 5 for the first time ever after 9/11 pretty much speaks for itself in terms of our commitment to both NATO and all 13 of its articles that make up being part of that treaty."
However, Politico reported shortly after that answer that Trump removed a 27-word line from his speech explicitly reaffirming American commitment to Article 5.
Politico on Tuesday reported the sentence was included in a May 23 draft the Pentagon signed off on.
The sentence read: "We face many threats, but I stand here before you with a clear message: The U.S. commitment to the NATO alliance and to Article 5 is unwavering."
Politico reported Monday Trump had personally removed a reference to Article 5 from the NATO speech, to the surprise of the president's top national security and diplomatic officials.
Trump has earned widespread criticism for not explicitly committing to Article 5 during his May 25 address to NATO leaders.