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"We strongly support NATO," the president told military personnel gathered during his visit to U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla. "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." (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Trump on Monday reassured close U.S. allies on Monday that his administration will continue to support NATO, despite his belief that certain members are not carrying their weight in defense spending.

“We strongly support NATO,” the president told military personnel gathered during his visit to U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla. “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.”

“Many of them have not been even close, and they have to do that,” Trump added, further imploring the United States’ NATO allies to “pay their fair share.”

The president’s critique of lopsided funding within the alliance comes less than 24 hours after he spoke by phone with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. The two men discussed “how to encourage all NATO allies to meet their defense spending commitments” and Russia’s ongoing military build-up along Ukraine’s border, according to a readout of the conversation.

Trump also agreed to attend a summit of NATO leaders in May at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels, the White House announced Sunday.

According to NATO statistics, the U.S. committed to contributing approximately 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product to NATO in 2015.

President Trump promises funding, equipment for troops at CENTCOM

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“We’re going to be loading it up with beautiful new planes and beautiful new equipment,” he said.

02/06/17 1:59 PM

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