Donald Trump reaffirms strong support for NATO

US President Donald Trump vowed to allow into the United States people who "want to love our country," defending his immigration and refugee restrictions, as he made his first visit to the headquarters of US Central Command.

Mr Trump reaffirmed his support for Nato before military leaders and troops, and laced his speech with references to homeland security amid a court battle over his travel ban on refugees from seven majority-Muslim countries.

He did not directly mention the case, which is now before a federal appeals court after a lower court temporarily suspended the ban.

"We need strong programmes" so that "people that love us and want to love our country and will end up loving our country are allowed in" and those who "want to destroy us and destroy our country" are kept out, Mr Trump said at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

"Freedom, security and justice will prevail," Mr Trump added.

"We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism and we will not allow it to take root in our country. We’re not going to allow it."

Mr Trump touched upon various other alliances in his remarks, noting, "we strongly support Nato".

He spoke on Sunday with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. A White House statement said the two discussed "how to encourage all Nato allies to meet their defence spending commitments," as well as the crisis in Ukraine and security challenges facing Nato countries.

Mr Trump once dismissed the trans-Atlantic military alliance as "obsolete," saying he would decide whether to protect Nato countries against Russian aggression based on whether those countries "have fulfilled their obligations to us".

Earlier, Mr Trump sat down for lunch with a room full of personnel in fatigues from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, as well as senior members of his White House staff.

Mr Trump made small talk with some of the soldiers, discussing everything from football to military careers.

"Gonna make it a career?" Mr Trump asked one person.

"C’mon, you have to stay," he urged another.

Mr Trump also hailed Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady, saying he "cemented his place" in football history after his fifth Super Bowl win on Sunday.

Mr Trump, who is also Commander in Chief of the US military, stopped at the base on the way back to Washington after his first weekend away from the White House.

Mr Trump spent the weekend at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, with first lady Melania Trump.

 - AP


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