President Trump admitted he did not know much about NATO when he first called it “obsolete” on the campaign trail last year, he told the Associated Press.
“They had a quote from me that NATO's obsolete. But they didn't say why it was obsolete. I was on Wolf Blitzer, very fair interview, the first time I was ever asked about NATO, because I wasn't in government. People don't go around asking about NATO if I'm building a building in Manhattan, right?” Trump said to the AP, according to a full transcript published late Sunday.
“So they asked me, Wolf ... asked me about NATO, and I said two things. ‘NATO's obsolete’ — not knowing much about NATO, now I know a lot about NATO — NATO is obsolete, and I said, ‘And the reason it's obsolete is because of the fact they don't focus on terrorism.’ You know, back when they did NATO, there was no such thing as terrorism,” Trump continued.
The 67-year-old North Atlantic Treaty Organization does in fact have a focus on counter-terrorism and issued its first formal declaration on the issue in 1980. The alliance also invoked Article 5 — which commits NATO countries to help any member state under attack — one day after the 9/11 attacks on the U.S in 2001.
NATO also made a change to its terrorism blueprint in 2012, when it stated that “the Alliance strives at all times to remain aware of the evolving threat from terrorism; to ensure it has adequate capabilities to prevent, protect against, and respond to terrorist threats.”
Trump first criticized NATO during an interview with The Washington Post's editorial board in March 2016, saying NATO “as a concept is good, but it is not as good as it was when it first evolved.”
You can read the rest at The Hill.