Updated at 5:07 p.m.
BRUSSELS — President Trump did not explicitly endorse the mutual-aid clause of the North Atlantic Treaty at the NATO summit on Thursday despite previous indications that he was planning to do so, keeping in place the cloud of ambiguity hanging over the relationship between the United States and the alliance.
Speaking in front of a 9/11 and Article 5 Memorial at the new NATO headquarters, Trump praised NATO’s response to the 9/11 attacks and spoke of “the commitments that bind us together as one.”
But he did not specifically commit to honor Article 5, which stipulates that other NATO allies must come to the aid of an ally under attack if it is invoked.
The only time in history that Article 5 has been invoked was after the September 11 attacks, a fact that Trump mentioned. The memorial Trump was dedicating is a piece of steel from the North Tower that fell during the attacks.
“We remember and mourn those nearly 3,000 people who were brutally murdered by terrorists on September 11, 2001,” Trump said. “Our NATO allies responded swiftly and decisively, invoking for the first time in its history the Article 5 collective-defense commitment.”
Trump did refer to “commitments,” saying of the memorial, “[t]his twisted mass of metal reminds us not only what we’ve lost, but forever what endures: the courage of our people, the strength of our resolve, and the commitments that bind us together as one. ... We will never forsake the friends who stood by our side. And we will never waver in our determination to defeat terrorism and to achieve lasting prosperity and peace.”