Secretary of Defense James Mattis said Friday that President Trump has given NATO his "full support" two days after the Pentagon chief called on the alliance to spend more on defense or risk seeing the United States "moderate its commitment."
Mattis was speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Friday when he reassured NATO allies that Article Five of the NATO agreement, which requires that member-states defend each other if attacked, remains a "bedrock commitment" for the U.S., Defense News reported.
On Wednesday, Mattis told senior defense officials from NATO countries in a closed-door meeting that they need to spend more on the alliance's common defense.
"I owe it to you all to give you clarity on the political reality in the United States, and to state the fair demand from my country's people in concrete terms," Mattis said. "America will meet its responsibilities, but if your nations do not want to see America moderate its commitment to the alliance, each of your capitals needs to show its support for our common defense."
The Pentagon chief also reportedly said American taxpayers can no longer carry a disproportionate share of NATO's security obligations.
"No longer can the American taxpayer carry a disproportionate share of the defense of western values," he said while meeting with NATO defense ministers. "Americans cannot care more for your children's future security than you do."
On Friday, Mattis clarified that the Trump administration is committed to the NATO alliance.
NATO allies have been wary of Trump's commitment to their security since July, when he said in an interview he would not necessarily come to the aid of a member-state attacked by Russia unless it "fulfilled their obligations to us."
Mattis has been on a three-day trip to Europe to assure NATO allies that the U.S. still views the North Atlantic Treaty as a fundamental pillar of global security.