World Politics

Trump reportedly said he wanted to pull the US from NATO multiple times last year

Key Points
  • U.S. President Donald Trump privately said a number of times in 2018 that he wanted the U.S. to leave NATO, according to the New York Times.
  • The U.S. leader made headlines last year when he hinted that he could leave the defense bloc without Congressional approval before eventually saying that U.S. withdrawal was "unnecessary."
  • Many fear NATO could fall apart if the world's largest economy is no longer a member.
President Donald Trump arrives to attend the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, in Brussels, on July 11, 2018. 
Denis Charlet | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump privately said several times last year that he wanted to withdraw his country from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The newspaper's findings, which cited unnamed senior administration officials, are likely to resurface worries of a breakdown in the military alliance that was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada and some European nations.

Those concerns were first sparked last year when the U.S. leader hinted that he could leave the 29-member defense bloc without Congressional approval. At the time, Trump was pushing member countries to increase spending. Since then, however, the Republican has backtracked on that threat.

After a chaotic NATO meeting in July 2018, Trump claimed that allies had committed to his request and said that U.S. withdrawal from the organization would be "unnecessary."

Responding to the New York Times' report, a White House official repeated some of Trump's remarks from July when the president said Washington's commitment to NATO is "very strong" and the alliance is "very important." The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment, which was sent outside office hours.

As the Times notes, a weakened NATO is thought to be a major geopolitical goal of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump's dislike for participation in international organizations is well known to global leaders by now. Early in his White House tenure, the president withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate accord and a massive Pacific trade pact.

For more details, see the report from The New York Times.

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