POLITICS
04/30/2017 01:20 pm ET

Mike Pence Claims Trump Didn't Change His Stance On NATO — Rather, NATO Changed

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President Donald Trump’s recent reversal on his prior criticisms of NATO was not a reversal, Vice President Mike Pence argued on Sunday, falsely claiming that Trump successfully forced the alliance to change.

“He didn’t change on NATO,” Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “NATO changed.”

During his campaign, Trump called the alliance “obsolete,” but as president, he changed his tune. Yet Pence insisted it was Trump who convinced NATO to shift its priorities.

“I mean on the international scene, here’s a president who’s said that NATO had to change, that our NATO allies had to begin to step up to begin to share the burden of the cost of our common defense. And they are,” Pence said. “They’re also changing the mission of NATO to focus more on terrorism.”

Pence’s claim resembled a similar suggestion by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who attributed Trump’s reversal to the world shifting toward Trump’s position, rather than the other way around.

“If you look at what’s happened, it’s those entities or individuals in some cases ― or issues ― evolving toward the president’s position,” Spicer said earlier this month. “NATO is moving toward what he has been calling for.”

When host Chuck Todd mentioned to Pence that NATO and its priorities have been evolving for years, under multiple U.S. presidents, not simply as a result of Trump, Pence blamed “the gale-force wind of the establishment here in Washington, D.C.” and the media for not focusing on “the president’s relentless effort to keep his promises to the American people.”

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