NATO Leader Shoots Down Naming Headquarters After John McCain

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Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg shot down the possibility that NATO’s new headquarters could be named after late Arizona Senator John McCain on Friday, according to the WashingtonExaminer.

Stoltenberg said during an appearance at a Heritage Foundation think tank that the organization was planning to honor McCain, a long-time supporter of the alliance, in another way.

“NATO doesn’t have a tradition of naming buildings after politicians.”

“We are 29 allies with a lot of presidents, kings, heads of state in government, so we haven’t introduced that tradition,” he said.

“I’m certain that we will be able to honor John McCain but not necessarily through naming a building and actually we honor John McCain every day through the fact that we stand together in NATO and deliver strong trans-Atlantic deterrence and defense.”

After McCain died last month of brain cancer, a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers drew up a resolution to honor the late Arizona senator.

Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., and Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif. lead the effort, but the resolution gained the support of 20 other lawmakers in the nation’s capital.

The $1.45 billion headquarters is located in Brussels, Belgium, and will house nearly 4,000 military and civilian personnel from the alliance.

NATO has taken a lot of flack over the past few months, however, particularly from President Donald Trump.

At the organization’s annual summit in Brussels last July, President Trump attacked allies, calling Germany “a captive of Russia” and accusing members of the alliance “delinquent” in their defense spending.

The comments sent European diplomats reeling, according to CNN.

“It’s like the world has gone crazy this morning,” one senior European diplomat told CNN. “Trump’s performance was beyond belief.”

“This is very confusing,” another senior European diplomat told CNN.

Referring to Trump’s Twitter tirade against Germany, the envoy said, “the attacks before, and now this tremendous stuff today. It doesn’t make any sense. We’re still in the process of analyzing it.”

Despite the President’s attacks on the organization, GOP leaders defended NATO publically.

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker told CNN he was concerned that that Trump is trying to “tear down” NATO and “punch our friends in the nose.”

While Corker agrees with the President about NATO allies paying more into the alliance, he doubled down and said Trump’s rhetoric is “damaging to us.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan was hesitant to outright disagree with the President, saying he subscribes “to the view that we should not be criticizing our president while he is overseas, but let me say a couple of things. NATO is indispensable.”