TRUMP VISITS POLAND ahead of summit.
WARSAW, Poland — President Donald Trump opened his two-nation European visit Wednesday with what he expects to be a short but warm stop in Poland before he encounters thornier issues at the Group of 20 summit in Germany.
Trump arrived in Warsaw late Wednesday for a 16-hour visit that includes a keynote address to the Poles from Krasinski Square, site of a monument commemorating the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis. Scores of people who lined darkened roads waved American and Polish flags and recorded video of Trump’s motorcade as it sped him and his wife, Melania, to their hotel.
Trump has scheduled talks with the leaders of Poland and Croatia and may hold a joint news conference — his first one abroad — with Polish President Andrzej Duda. He also was meeting with the heads of a dozen countries bordered by the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas. Collectively known as the Three Seas Initiative, the group aims to expand and modernize energy and trade with a goal of reducing the region’s dependence on Russian energy.
Duda told Polish broadcaster TVN24 on Wednesday that he wants to tackle concrete issues like energy security in the meeting with Trump, rather than engaging in “some general talk about world security.”
Trump’s return to Europe follows a shaky inaugural visit in late May.
Trump’s earlier visit was marred by several awkward encounters, including a speech to NATO members urging them to spend more on their armed forces, an uncomfortable handshake with France’s new president and a caught-on-camera moment when Trump pushed past the prime minister of Montenegro before a group photo.
Poland may offer him a chance to shine.
Polish media reports say the government promised the White House cheering crowds as part of its invitation. Ruling party lawmakers and pro-government activists plan to transport groups of people in buses for Trump’s speech. The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment on the reports.
Law and Justice Party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski played up the significance of Trump’s visit ahead of the G-20 summit and bragged that it has made Poland the “envy” of other nations such as Great Britain, which has yet to play host to the U.S. president.
“We have new success, Trump’s visit,” Kaczynski said over the weekend.
Trump may also seek to use Poland as an exemplar of partnership. A U.S. ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, Poland is among the five NATO members that spend at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product on the military. That’s something that Trump — and U.S. leaders before him — have demanded of NATO allies.
Poland hosts a few thousand U.S. troops, in addition to supporting U.S. and NATO forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s also a regular purchaser of U.S. military equipment.
The Polish government has emphasized that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine poses a threat to the whole of Europe, something that will likely be raised in discussions with Trump as Europeans aim to gauge his willingness to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet face to face on Friday.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster said in a briefing ahead of the trip that Trump will “lay out a vision, not only for America’s future relationship with Europe, but the future of our transatlantic alliance and what that means for American security and American prosperity.” Information for this article was contributed by Vivian Salama of The Associated Press and Abby Phillip of The Washington Post.