While the United States has been a fixture in NATO since its inception in 1949, President Donald Trump often threatened to leave it throughout 2018, according to a new report in The New York Times.

Trump’s aides reportedly were uncertain if he was serious the first time he proposed the idea, although his frequent comments about leaving NATO confirmed otherwise. Trump has periodically been a vocal critic of the alliance, previously questioning if it was still essential and offering harsh words for other members he believed weren’t paying their share in defense spending.

During last year’s NATO summit, Trump caused controversy when he exclaimed that Germany and other countries were “totally controlled by Russia.” Trump’s commitment to the organization was a biting fear for its other members.


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According to CNN, NATO officials worked hard last year to keep Trump engaged in the alliance and its place in the world. Evidentially, the concern came more so from fear that Trump would fail to honor the commitment to other NATO members than from him outright leaving. Russian President Vladimir Putin has long hoped to see NATO weaken. It would be a victory from him if the United States were to withdraw from it.

However, legislation was passed in the House on Tuesday that re-emphasizes the country’s commitment to NATO as a response to Trump’s alleged desire to leave it. The bill was a bipartisan victory for the House, with a 357-22 vote approving it. The legislation re-affirms that maintaining its NATO membership is a United States policy, and money will not be allocated to withdrawing from it.

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Trump’s wavering support for the alliance is “disturbing” and “troubling” according to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, who gave a news conference outside Capitol Hill. “You know what a burden would be? A burden would be for the United States to try and conduct foreign policy without allies, without 28 other countries that share our values and have fought alongside American troops, sharing the burden of lost blood and treasure at times.”

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