Trump considering new US military base in Poland that could be named after him: 'The facility would be world class'

Move would be major provocation to Russia

Andrew Buncombe
Wednesday 12 June 2019 20:03 BST
Trump considering new US military base in Poland that could be named after him: 'The facility would be world class'

Donald Trump has floated the idea of establishing a US military base in Poland – a move that would be seen as a stark provocation by Russia – that Warsaw has offered to name after him.

Some Polish politicians have long sought a more permanent presence of the US military in their country, and lobbying for such has increased since Russia’s 2014 annexation of the Crimea. Last year, at a meeting with the US leader, Polish president Andrzej Duda offered to name any permanent facility “Fort Trump”.

At at meeting at the White House with Mr Duda on Wednesday, at which the US and Poland signed a defence cooperation declaration and agreed the sale of 30 fighter jets, Mr Trump said it was possible the US would send additional troops, possibly shifting some from Germany. He was also asked about a US base.

“We haven’t totally made up the decision,” he said. “We haven’t finalised anything. But the facility itself would be world class.”

He added: “There would be no additional troops to Europe. We’d be moving them from another location.”

On Wednesday morning, Mr Trump also pondered Poland’s geographic location, and its place in history

“They get hurt, unfortunately, too often, right? Too often,” he said. “They are in the middle of everything. When bad things happen, it seems Poland is the first one that is in there and it is unfortunate.”

When the two men met last year, Mr Duda had offered to name any base after the US president, at which pointed Mr Trump nodded. Asked about the possibility of a Fort Trump on Wednesday, Mr Trump suggested such a name might not be universally popular.

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“Well, that’s up to them. I have nothing to do with naming it,” he said, when asked about the name. “That’s all I need, ‘Fort Trump’. You people would have a field day with that.”

Since 2014, the US has again been increasing military activity in Europe in concert with Nato allies, the Associated Press said. That included stationing four multinational battalion-size battle groups in alliance members Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, led by the US. Britain, Canada and Germany.

Ahead of the meeting, Polish had been accused of backsliding on its commitment to democracy, as it has clashed repeatedly with the EU, over a series of incidents, including a crackdown on the independent judiciary and the free press.

Asked if he was worried about Poland’s commitment to democracy, Mr Trump said he was “not concerned”.

Later in the Rose Garden, at a joint press conference, Mr Duda said it would be up to the US how many additional troops it sent. He also rejected concerns that democracy was under assault.

“Today we signed a declaration of defence cooperation,” he said. “This is very important.”

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