- As a candidate, Trump often lambasted NATO
- The NATO leader also praised Trump for putting pressure on alliance members to boost defense spending
As a candidate, Trump often lambasted NATO, saying it was "obsolete" because he felt it did not do enough to combat terror. On Wednesday, however, the President declared the international alliance was "no longer obsolete," taking credit for what he said was the organization's greater focus on fighting terrorism.
Trump was speaking to reporters at the White House on Wednesday alongside Stoltenberg after giving him a warm welcome and praising the organization as "the bulwark of international peace and security."
"He has been very consistent when it comes to NATO in all my interactions and conversations with him," Stoltenberg said on CNN's "New Day" Thursday. "I phoned him just after he was elected. Then he expressed strong support to NATO. I also talked to him earlier and now met him yesterday in the White House, and it has been a very consistent message from him."
Stoltenberg also praised Trump for putting pressure on alliance members to fulfill their obligations by increasing defense spending.
"He has helped by having such a strong focus on the importance of burden-sharing and defense spending," he told "New Day" co-host Alisyn Camerota.
"For me, the important thing is ... burden-sharing," Stoltenberg said. "We have turned the corner, and European defense spending has now started to increase."