look ma, no hands!
President Trump apparently decided to forgo a public recommitment to NATO's Article 5 during his address to other world leaders last month without first consulting his own national security team, Politico Magazine reports. In fact, the recommitment to the clause — which requires NATO members to aid other member countries if attacked — had been written into the original speech, but Trump reportedly made the call at the last minute to remove it without consulting his foreign policy experts about the decision:
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all supported [Trump's recommitment to Article 5] and had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech, according to five sources familiar with the episode. They thought it was, and a White House aide even told The New York Times the day before the line was definitely included.
[…] The president appears to have deleted it himself, according to one version making the rounds inside the government, reflecting his personal skepticism about NATO and insistence on lecturing NATO allies about spending more on defense rather than offering reassurances of any sort; another version relayed to others by several White House aides is that Trump's nationalist chief strategist Steve Bannon and policy aide Stephen Miller played a role in the deletion. [Politico Magazine]
Former President Bill Clinton's deputy secretary of state, Strobe Talbott, called Trump's decision to omit the Article 5 commitment "dangerous and damaging," declaring that from Trump's speech "forward … the Atlantic community was less safe, and less together." Read more about if Trump has already done irreparable damage to NATO at The Week, and about his decision to axe the Article 5 commitment from his speech at Politico Magazine.