Pence: NATO must 'stand united' in the wake of London attack

mike pence nato stand united london sot_00000626
mike pence nato stand united london sot_00000626

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Story highlights

  • Vice president: "We will drive the cancer of terrorism from the face of the Earth, and we will do so together"
  • Trump has criticized NATO in the past as "obsolete"

Washington (CNN)Vice President Mike Pence on Monday said now is the time for NATO to "stand united and stand strong" in the wake of the recent terror attack in London.

"We will drive the cancer of terrorism from the face of the Earth and we will do it together," Pence said during a speech at the Atlantic Council's Distinguished International Leadership Awards dinner in Washington.
Seven people were killed and 48 others were wounded on Saturday after three assailants rammed a vehicle into a crowd on London Bridge and then stabbed others in nearby Borough Market. Pence's speech follows President Donald Trump's tweeted criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan's handling of the weekend's terror, criticism that prompted a fierce backlash in Britain.
    Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO supreme allied commander, called out Trump for his criticism of London's mayor.
    The criticism of Khan is "deeply unfortunate," Stavridis told CNN's Erin Burnett on "OutFront" Monday.
    "The idea we would twist his (Khan's) words ... huge mistake on our part," Stavridis added. "Going after terrorism is a team sport -- we need teammates."
    During his presidential campaign, Trump called NATO "obsolete." He changed his mind after meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in April, when NATO's leaders assured him the group would turn its attention to combating terror groups such as ISIS. Still, Trump declined to pledge he would uphold NATO's Article 5, which requires NATO members to come to the defense of an ally who is attacked.
    But Pence sought to affirm US commitment to NATO.
    "A strong NATO is vitally important, especially in these trying times," Pence said, noting that while enemies seek to divide the countries, "our alliance has emerged stronger."
    He echoed his public remarks on Twitter.
    "With the rise of adversaries new & old, our alliance must continue to evolve to confront the threats of today & tomorrow," the vice president wrote.