President Donald Trump will host Polish President Andrzej Duda at the White House next week, four days before Poland holds a presidential election in which Duda is fighting for a second term.
The White House says Trump will meet with Duda at the White House on June 24 to discuss defense, trade, energy and telecommunications security. It will be the first visit by a foreign leader to Washington in months.
The meeting follows Trump’s announcement of plans to reduce U.S. military presence in Germany. Under the current plan, at least some of the German-based troops are expected to be shifted to Poland, and it is widely expected that Trump will announce more details with Duda by his side.
There could be no better opportunity for Duda on the home front. Poland is among the most pro-American countries in Europe.
A NATO member on the alliance’s eastern frontier, Poland relies heavily on the United States — and the thousands of U.S. troops already there — to feel secure in a region where Russia has historically dominated its neighbors.
Russian incursions in past years in Georgia and Ukraine have heightened fears of Moscow’s renewed imperial ambitions, and all of the main political parties in Poland support having even more U.S. troops.
“This visit will give Duda a strong advantage during the last days of the campaign — days that are crucial,” said Igor Janke, the head of a conservative Warsaw-based think tank, the Freedom Institute.
“Even if a liberal part of Polish elites don’t like Trump or laugh at him, he is still the president of the U.S., and is someone who can send troops here. And the security issue is an existential question in this country.”
The visit could also win Trump support with Polish-American voters in the U.S. presidential election in November. Numbering in the millions, they make up critical voting blocs in swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Duda is polling ahead of 10 other presidential candidates in Poland’s June 28 election, with around 40 percent support. A runoff on July 12 is most likely going to be required between the two top vote winners.
Polls now suggest that the runoff will pit Duda against centrist Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski in an extremely close race.
Since the visit was announced on Wednesday, some in Poland have accused Trump of interfering in their election, noting that it is unprecedented for a U.S. leader to host a foreign politician so close to an election.
“President Trump is directly interfering in the election campaign in our country,” according to Janusz Sibora, an expert on diplomacy. “This is unacceptable. Good diplomatic custom does not allow for such visits four days before an election.”
Duda is backed by the conservative ruling party Law and Justice.
In recent days, Duda has criticized the LGBT narrative on the campaign trail. Last Saturday he accused the LGBT movement of promoting a viewpoint more harmful than communism, and said he agreed with another politician who said, “LGBT is not people, it’s an ideology.”
His political allies have likewise been promoting the traditional view of sexuality.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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