Donald Trump will visit Poland during his trip to Europe for a G20 summit, where the right-wing press in America predicts its president will receive a hero’s welcome.

Polish politics has shifted right in recent years, marked by the election to government of the Law and Justice Party, a hard-right nationalist conservative party fuelled by populism, traditionalism, and Christianity – not a million miles away from Team Trump’s agenda.

In a White House media briefing before the state visit, which coincides with a G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, General H. R. McMaster, one of Trump’s national security advisers, emphasised that Poland is “a staunch Nato ally and of a nation that remains one of America’s closest friends”.

McMaster said Trump will deliver “a major speech to the Polish people at Krasiński Square, epicenter of the 1944 Warsaw uprising against the brutal Nazi occupation”.

He added that “the main message is that America is with you, America understands that its interests align with the interests of the Polish people, and we are determined to do our best to work together on our common priorities and our common interests.”

The Polish government has seen mass protests against its rule. It is accused of making anti-democratic reforms, such as the erosion of an independent judiciary, and has cracked down on LGBT and women’s rights, earning it scathing criticism from human rights groups.

But Poland promised Trump a warm welcome when inviting him for a state visit, and it is doing everything it can to manufacture adulatory crowds.

The Republican president is wary of big protests against him in countries he visits, such as the UK, where he will only give a day’s notice before he turns up to deter anti-Trump activists promising to turn out in force when he arrives.

poland anti-government protests
Participants of an anti-government demonstration gather in front of the private house of Jaroslaw KaczynskiGetty

So the Polish government is, according to Associated Press, busing in Trump fans from across the country to the capital Warsaw so they can watch his speech in person, and give him the fawning reception he wants.

Critics of the Polish government warn that its hardline nature will isolate the country, particularly in the European Union, so a visit by the head of state of the world’s only superpower is something of a coup for the Law and Justice Party.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, chairman of the Law and Justice Party, said other countries “envy” Trump’s visit to Poland – so he does not want the spectacle to turn into an embarrassment. And that’s why the party needs images of cheering crowds greeting Trump.

That Trump has admirers in Poland does not mean he is popular there. According to the Pew Research Center, a pollster, just 23% of Poles have confidence in Trump, compared to 57% who have no confidence in him. This is, however, better for Trump than the global average of 18% with confidence and 79% with no confidence.

The question now is can the Law and Justice Party keep the anti-Trump voices quiet while he visits? Or will Trump’s worst nightmare come true: a humiliating mass protest against him?

See also:

Poland Prepares ‘Absolutely Huge’ Welcome for Trump


Donald Trump’s Poland visit sparks fears of widening divisions in Europe

Some fear US president may be seen as endorsing government that is clashing with EU over democracy and migrants

Trump’s speech will be delivered in front of the monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation, a doomed enterprise that resulted in the death of approximately 200,000 Poles
Trump’s speech will be delivered in front of the monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation, a doomed enterprise that resulted in the death of approximately 200,000 Poles Photograph: Czarek Sokolowski/AP

It has already been compared by Poland’s pro-government press to John F Kennedy’s historic 1963 visit to West Berlin, but Donald Trump’s trip to Warsaw this week has prompted concerns over a presidential strategy that threatens not to unite Europe but to divide it.

Trump is due to arrive in Poland on Wednesday evening and deliver a major speech in Warsaw on Thursday afternoon. He will also attend a gathering of central European, Baltic and Balkan leaders, before heading to the G20 summit in Hamburg.

Poland’s ruling rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) has struggled to contain its excitement since the visit was announced last month. The defence minister, Antoni Macierewicz, said it showed “how much Poland’s place in geopolitics and world politics has changed”.

But there is unease in Brussels and other European capitals that Trump’s visit will be seen as an endorsement – tacit or otherwise – of a government which has repeatedly clashed with EU institutions over its assault on independent democratic institutions, and its refusal to accept migrants under quotas agreed to by its pro-European predecessor.

Gianni Pitella, leader of the socialist bloc in the European parliament, said: “After a few months of his presidency, Trump has already jeopardised the Paris agreement on the climate change, endangered the EU-US and Nato relationships, and now he risks blowing up the already very delicate situation in Poland and eastern Europe.”

To the horror of the Polish government’s domestic opponents, Trump’s speech will be delivered in front of the monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against Nazi occupation, a doomed enterprise that resulted in the death of approximately 200,000 Poles.

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Posters advertising President Trump’s planned speech at Krasinski Square in Warsaw.CreditCzarek Sokolowski/Associated Press

WARSAW — Polish officials are bragging: On President Trump’s way to the Group of 20 summit this week, he is coming to Poland first, choosing it over more powerful American allies like Germany, France or Britain.

“We have a new success, Trump’s visit,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the governing party and Poland’s true power broker, said in a speech last week. Mr. Trump’s visit, he said, is causing other European countries to “envy” Poland.

That remains to be seen. Mr. Trump’s last visit to Europe in May unnerved American allies, causing some leaders to rethink the United States’ relationship with the Continent. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany has already said that she expects difficult talks with Mr. Trump when he arrives in Hamburg on Friday for the G-20 economic summit meeting.

For Mr. Trump, the stop in Poland on Thursday is something of an appetizer before the main course, a visit to a friendly right-wing, populist government with a kindred approach on any number of key issues, from immigration to global warming and coal mining.

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