Clash between Trump and Biden Will Be a Polish Primary, But the Price Will Be High

One can hardly see Andrzej Duda’s meeting with Donald Trump as anything other than the president’s unequivocal support for the Republican candidate, just as one can view Donald Tusk’s criticism of the meeting as an expression of open support for Biden.

Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz and Pedro Sanchez have avoided direct contact with Trump for years. They don’t want to be associated with a politician who cuts off aid to Ukraine and refuses to recognize the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Of the leaders in the EU, only Victor Orbán has met with the billionaire. Trump hosted Orban in mid-March at his Florida residence. Shortly after, however, David Cameron followed in Orban’s footsteps. Yet today, Cameron is the head of British diplomacy, which is a different category than the head of the state. That’s what makes the dinner President Duda is going to have with Trump on Wednesday evening so noteworthy. The meeting place — Trump Tower in Manhattan — is also significant.

The move is a serious mistake on the president’s part. Free Poland has had a strong tradition of moving relations with the U.S. to a cross-party level. The goal was for Washington to see the alliance with our country as part of American raison d’etat and an agenda for both Republicans and Democrats. Duda broke with this tradition in the fall of 2020, when he refused to congratulate Joe Biden for many long weeks, thereby undermining confidence in American democracy. By meeting with Trump now, he is repeating the same mistake. Holding talks with a Republican candidate, who doesn’t serve in any government position today, sends a clear signal that he would rather see him as the president next year. And this is so despite the fact that Trump has repeatedly undermined the significance of NATO and, since October, has been urging Congress to block aid to Ukraine.

From the Courtroom to a Meeting with Duda. Tusk Reveals How He Feels about Trump

But Prime Minister Tusk’s reaction to Duda’s meeting with Trump also deviates from the policy that has been pursued so far. We should note, for example, that Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski when asked which candidate he supports in the upcoming election, has always remained reticent. He says he prefers to remember Trump when he supported Ukraine. Sikorski also admits that he is maintaining certain relations with the Republicans in case their candidate wins the election.

Tusk chose a different path. “Almost every speech of President Trump very clearly shows his rather anti–Ukrainian sentiment, a kind of pro-Russian attitude, which I also know from the past, reluctance to help Ukraine, blocking financial assistance, which was almost passed in the U.S. Congress, a very critical attitude to NATO,” Tusk said. He also sarcastically noted that the billionaire will meet with the president of Poland at about the moment when Trump steps out of the courtroom.

The Price for Polish American Relations Will Be High

The battle for the White House, which will take place six months before the Polish presidential election, will be a kind of primary for our country, thanks to Tusk’s unequivocal support for Biden. If Trump wins, Law and Justice will consider that Jarosław Kaczyński’s party is also on the roll. If Biden wins, the ruling Civic Coalition will see this as confirmation that by saving democracy, the Poles are on the right side of history. But the price for Poland’s relations with the U.S. could be high.

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