(AP/Evan Vucci)

Trump's NATO speech wasn't the one he was supposed to deliver

Trump's top national security officials were totally blindsided when the president removed elements they pushed for

Charlie May
June 5, 2017 3:14PM (UTC)

Leading up to President Donald Trump's speech to NATO leaders, while he was on his first international trip, the president's top national security officials assisted with Trump's speech in order to make sure he reaffirmed the strength of NATO and stood in complete solidarity with his European allies, but Trump had other plans — and decided to steer things in his own direction — only to echo his campaign promises.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson were adamant about Trump "reaffirming the so-called Article 5 provision in his speech," according to Politico. For weeks leading up to the event they had worked it into his address and everything appeared to be on the proper track, even on the morning of the speech.


[salon_video id="14775579"]

There are a slight differences on how exactly the events transpired and who was pulling the strings. One source said Trump acted on his own accord "reflecting his personal skepticism about NATO and insistence on lecturing NATO allies about spending more on defense rather than offering reassurances of any sort." Others say there was some help from chief strategist Stephen Bannon and senior policy adviser Stephen Miller. Either way, those elements of the speech were removed.

"There was a fully coordinated other speech everybody else had worked on" which was not the speech Trump ended up delivering, according to Politico. "They didn’t know it had been removed," a third source had said. "It was only upon delivery."


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

MORE FROM Charlie May

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Gen. James Mattis H.r. Mcmaster Nato Secretary Of State Rex Tillerson

Fearless journalism
in your inbox every day

Sign up for our free newsletter

• • •