President Trump will travel to Brussels for a NATO conference in late May, the White House announced Tuesday.
The meeting is expected to be Trump’s first foreign trip, and is set to take place May 25. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced the meeting earlier Tuesday.
Spicer said the president was looking forward to meeting with his NATO counterparts "to reaffirm our strong commitment to NATO, and to discuss issues critical to the alliance, especially allied responsibility-sharing and NATO's role in the fight against terrorism."
Additionally, the White House announced Trump will host Stoltenberg on April 12 to talk about “how to strengthen the alliance to cope with challenges to national and international security.”
Trump accused NATO of being "obsolete" during the campaign and criticized Brussels, equating it to "like living in a hellhole right now."
The announcement came after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to skip a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Belgium next month, according to U.S. officials. Instead, Tillerson will attend the G7 summit in Italy before traveling to Moscow. Tillerson is also expected to help welcome China President Xi Jinping at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said earlier Tuesday that Tillerson’s schedule would not allow him to attend the NATO meeting. In any case, Tillerson is meeting with almost every NATO country's foreign minister in Washington this week, officials said. Yet that gathering is focused on fighting the Islamic State, not on NATO's key concern: Russia.
Fox News’ Kelly Chernenkoff and the Associated Press contributed to this report.