(CNSNews.com) - As President Trump flew to Europe Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday’s NATO summit, the U.S. Senate passed a nonbinding motion expressing “iron-clad” support for the alliance.
The vote was 97-2. Republicans Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) voted against it.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) introduced the motion as part of the Senate vote on the annual National Defense Authorization Act.
Reed said the motion sends an "important message" to both our allies and adversaries -- "that the United States is unwavering in its support of a Europe free from the threat of external aggression and in support of the rules-based international order that has promoted international security for decades."
Reed said the motion reaffirms “the ironclad U.S. commitment under Article 5 to the collective defense of the alliance”; and “the United States' commitment to NATO as a community of shared values, including liberty, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.”
The motion urges the U.S. to "strengthen European defense" and urges the Trump administration to pursue a strategy to "deter" Russian aggression and Russian malign activities.
The motion also calls for "expanding and enhancing our alliances and partnerships, which are one of our greatest security advantages."
Sen. Rand Paul explained his opposition to the motion in a tweet:
“Why is the U.S. Senate pushing to expand NATO when most of them aren’t even paying their fair share? I stand with @realDonaldTrump. Today, I blocked a resolution that applauds and calls for the expansion of NATO.”
Sen. Lee has not yet explained his opposition.
In his speech on the Senate floor, Reed said, "No one should ever doubt the United States' resolve in meeting its commitments to the mutual defense of the NATO alliance.
"Unfortunately, this motion has become necessary because some of our closest allies have come to question the U.S. commitment to collective self-defense. President Trump has at times called the alliance 'obsolete.' Our allies are starting to wonder whether they can rely on the United States to come to their defense in a crisis."
If the allies were "starting to wonder" on Tuesday, they were rocked on their heels Wednesday, when President Trump bluntly complained about Germany paying "billions" of dollars to Russia for natural gas, while not paying its fair share of NATO dues for its collective defense against Russia. Trump said Germany was "captive to Russia," prompting shock, dismay and fury among globalists in the liberal media and the diplomatic ranks.