Donald Trump NATO press conference April 12 2017 02
Trump: NATO no longer obsolete
00:57 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Trump called the alliance "obsolete" multiple times during the campaign

NATO chief favors increased defense spending from allies

Washington CNN  — 

President Donald Trump emphatically embraced NATO Wednesday in a reversal of his campaign trail rhetoric lambasting the organization.

“I said it’s obsolete,” Trump said, referencing a favorite refrain. “Now it’s no longer obsolete.” He was speaking to reporters at the White House alongside NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, after giving him a warm welcome and praising the organization as “the bulwark of international peace and security.”

Trump’s newfound enthusiasm for NATO brings him into alignment with a long-standing bipartisan consensus in Washington, exemplified by House Speaker Paul Ryan’s announcement earlier Wednesday that he would lead a delegation of both Republicans and Democrats to visit key NATO members.

Trump’s stunning u-turns on NATO, China, Russia and Syria

But Trump’s about-face has more to do with those closest to him and the way Stoltenberg has focused on shared priorities with the new President, as well as the deterioration of another key relationship: that of the US and Russia. Here are four factors that have driven Trump’s dramatic 180 on NATO – for now.

Personnel

Trump has appointed several pro-NATO figures to senior positions and appears willing to heed their advice. Secretary of Defense James Mattis once held one of the senior-mo