- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 21, 2016

Rejecting comments by Republican nominee Donald Trump, the White House said Thursday that the U.S. would come to the defense of any NATO country attacked by a foreign invader.

“The U.S. commitment to that pledge is ironclad,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “There should be no mistake or miscalculation made about this country’s commitment to our trans-Atlantic alliance.”

Mr. Trump said in an interview with The New York Times Wednesday that he wouldn’t necessarily defend the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania if they were attacked by Russia. He said, if elected, he would come to their aid only after reviewing whether they have “fulfilled their obligations to us.”

The Republican nominee has been critical of NATO members who don’t pay the required 2 percent of national GDP to the alliance for common defense of the 29-member nations. He said it places a heavier burden on U.S. taxpayers; Mr. Obama also has been pushing NATO members to contribute more to the alliance.

The White House wouldn’t comment specifically on Mr. Trump’s comments. But Mr. Earnest said NATO’s status as a cornerstone of U.S. national security “is a policy that the United States has pursued under every post-World War II president, Democrat or Republican.”

“The cornerstone of that alliance is a pledge that all of the allies have made to mutual self-defense,” Mr. Earnest said.

The president “renewed” that commitment during a NATO summit in Poland two weeks ago, he said.

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