18 April 2024

Poland’s president becomes latest foreign leader to visit Donald Trump

18 April 2024

Former President Donald Trump has met with Polish President Andrzej Duda in New York in the latest in a series of meetings with foreign leaders as Europe braces for the possibility of a second Trump term.

The presumptive Republican nominee hosted Mr Duda at Trump Tower, where the two discussed the war in Ukraine and Mr Duda’s push to boost Nato members’ defence spending, according to a readout from Mr Trump’s campaign.

Mr Duda, who has long expressed admiration for Mr Trump, is also a staunch supporter of Ukraine and has encouraged Washington to provide more aid to Kyiv amid Russian’s ongoing invasion.

The funding has been held up by Trump allies in Congress.

As he arrived, Mr Trump praised the Polish president, saying, “He’s done a fantastic job and he’s my friend.”

“We had four great years together,” Mr Trump added. “We’re behind Poland all the way.”

Following the almost two and a half hour meeting, Mr Duda said only that it was a “friendly meeting in very nice atmosphere”.

His aide, Wojciech Kolarski, also in attendance, described it as an “excellent meeting” of “two friends who reminisced on the time when for four years they cooperated while holding presidential offices,” a time that was “very fruitful for Polish-US relations”.

Mr Duda is the latest foreign leader to meet with Trump in the weeks since he locked up the Republican nomination.

US allies across the world were caught off guard by Mr Trump’s surprise 2016 win, forcing them to scramble to build relationships with a president who often attacked long-standing treaties and alliances they valued.

Setting up meetings with him during the 2024 campaign suggests they don’t want to be behind again.

Even as he goes on trial for one of the four criminal indictments against him, Mr Trump and Democratic President Joe Biden are locked in a rematch that most observers expect will be exceedingly close in November.

The visit was met with mixed reaction in Poland, where fears of Russia run high and Mr Duda’s friendly relationship with Mr Trump has been a source of controversy.

Poland’s centrist Prime Minister Donald Tusk, a political opponent of Mr Duda, was critical of the dinner but expressed hope that Mr Duda would use it as an opportunity “to raise the issue of clearly siding with the Western world, democracy and Europe in this Ukrainian-Russian conflict”.

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