President Donald Trump reaffirmed support for NATO while calling on allies to pay their share as he spoke Monday to troops at the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command.
"We strongly support NATO. We only ask that all of the NATO members make their full and proper financial contributions to the NATO alliance, which many of them have not been doing," Trump said during his first visit to CENTCOM, which included a briefing with military leaders.
Trump said during his campaign for president that NATO was "obsolete" and suggested the U.S. would only come to a member's defense unless they have "fulfilled their obligations."
In his speech Monday, which followed lunch with members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, Trump pledged to take care of the country's military veterans.
"We will make a historic financial investment in the armed forces of the United States and show the entire world that American stands with those who stand in defense of freedom," he said.
He also vowed to "defeat radical Islamic terrorism" and keep it from taking root in the U.S. Trump did not specifically mention a court battle over his executive order suspending entry to refugees and people from seven nations, but said the country needs policies to let in "people that love us" and keep out people who "want to destroy us."
CENTCOM is responsible for military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.
It oversaw a recent raid by U.S. forces on an al-Qaida compound in Yemen that left one U.S Navy SEAL dead..
The body of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens was returned last Wednesday to Dover Air Force Base, where President Trump made a previously unannounced visit to pay his respects.
Another three U.S. service members were injured when their aircraft made a so-called “hard landing” at a staging area for the mission.