Tusk: the success of Trump’s visit is indisputable


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"The US president’s words about Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which concerns collective defense, were important... it is clear progress compared to his previous declarations", President of the European Council Donald Tusk said on Thursday, commenting upon Donald Trump’s speech in Warsaw.

"To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment", said Donald Trump.

Trump "did his homework"

Donald Tusk considered these words to be needed, because the American president had not referred to Article 5 during his previous visit to Brussels and the NATO summit held there. “Maybe these words did not ring out today the way that we would all like them to, but it is clear progress compared to his previous declarations,” the head of the European Council said.

According to Tusk, particularly important were the US president’s words about Poland as part of the West, Europe as a key part of the West and trans-Atlantic ties. “All of this shows that he has done his homework on recent history in a way that can only please us,” he said.

“This speech was also very pro-Polish, though everyone says what the host wants to hear. We are satisfied with this, but we all know that guests usually do this,” the head of the European Council said.

"No anti-European or anti-EU digressions"

Tusk nevertheless emphasized that we still need to wait to see whether deeds will follow these pro-Polish, pro-European declarations. "I hope that something has in fact changed in Washington, and that these are not merely words", he added.

Tusk said he noticed the "complete absence of anti-European or anti-EU digressions" in Trump’s speech. "And this, too, is a fairly clear change compared to his first speeches concerning our continent", he said.

According to Tusk, "what is most important and, above all, in Poland’s interest is the fact that the meeting today cannot be regarded in any way, in any European capital, as something against the interests of Europe as a whole".

"Mistrust, and sometimes outright attacks against the free media"

When a journalist noted that "comments may come up that Trump supported the changes affecting the rule of law in Warsaw", Tusk replied:

"There can be no doubt, it cannot be a surprise or a secret to anybody, that if there are any leaders in the West who accept the changes that are transpiring in Poland’s internal politics, then President Donald Trump is among them. That is to say, the sensibility concerning democracy and freedom of the media that President Trump demonstrates, his very critical [stance] toward the media and ongoing war with the media in the United States, that sensibility is a little reminiscent of the sensibility the Polish government currently demonstrates – that is, mistrust, and sometimes outright attacks against the free media".

Tusk pointed out that 70 percent of the complements the American leader paid Poland related to history – Solidarity, the Warsaw Uprising, the Pope, World War II and the high position all the predecessors of the current government managed to build.

"This is a difficult moment for the opposition"

"The diplomatic success is indisputable. The president of the most powerful country in the world comes and says great things about Poland and its rulers. I’m not surprised that this is just that day when those governing Poland can feel satisfaction,” the head of the European Council remarked.

Donald Tusk also said that "this is definitely a difficult moment for the opposition... I’m not surprised that this is just that day when those governing Poland can feel satisfaction", he added, then joked, "I was glad, because I heard hundreds of PiS [Law and Justice party] activists chanting ‘Donald, Donald!’".

"Perhaps a positive evolution awaits us"

Furthermore, the European Council President said that we should refrain from making statements about what American policy toward Russia will look like, because the American president has spoken differently than he did today in Warsaw about Poland’s neighbor.

"I would not want to disclose the details of talks, including those held one on one here in Brussels, with President Trump, but there can be no doubt that President Trump’s attitude toward Russia in many conversations was a little different than the one he demonstrated today in Warsaw. I understand that. Whom you are speaking to also often determines a certain tone", Tusk said.

At the same time he emphasized that only time will tell what that policy looks like, "particularly in the context of Ukraine... If it is like what was said today in Warsaw, that means that perhaps a positive evolution awaits us. If it is like what we heard previously, well, then we must still be cautious with this optimism", the former prime minister of Poland said.


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