Polish government to bus people to Warsaw to cheer Donald Trump during his speech

Measure reminiscent of days of Soviet rule, when crowds would be bussed to Warsaw to ensure visiting bigwigs from Moscow saw a warm welcome on their arrival

Chloe Farand
Thursday 06 July 2017 08:56
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Warsaw military airport in Poland
US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Warsaw military airport in Poland

The Polish government is planning to bus people to Warsaw to ensure large crowds are there to listen to Donald Trump.

The US President is due to make an address in the Polish capital from Krasinski Square, a site which commemorates the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis.

During his first official trip to Europe as US President, Mr Trump did not receive the warm welcome he would have liked.

In Brussels, thousands of people staged an anti-Trump protest hours after his arrival.

Last month, Mr Trump reportedly told Theresa May he would delay his state visit because of fears of large-scale protests.

But ahead of his visit to Poland, the ruling Law and Justice Party, admirers of Mr Trump and grateful for his decision to come to Warsaw before Paris, Brussels or Berlin, promised the White House cheering crowds, Polish media reports.

According to the Associated Press, ruling politicians and pro-government activists plan to bus in groups of people to cheer Mr Trump during his speech.

Some of the measures being taken are straight from the Communist Party playbook, hearkening back to the days of Soviet rule when crowds would be bussed to Warsaw to welcome visiting officials from Moscow.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Law and Justice Party member Dominik Tarcznski said: "It's going to be huge - absolutely huge. They just love him, the people in Poland - they just really love him."

Scores of people lined up the streets and waved American and Polish flags as Mr Trump's motorcade drove him and Melania to their hotel after they arrived on Wednesday night.

According to a survey released last week by the Pew Research Centre, 73 per cent of Poles have a favourable view of the US but just 23 per cent have confidence in Mr Trump, compared with 58 per cent at the end of Barack Obama's second term in office.

Poland is an ideal candidate to be a strong ally of Mr Trump. Its nationalistic right-wing government has a similar stance to the US President on issues such as immigration, climate change and coal mining. And the visit could offer Mr Trump a place to shine and gloss over his image as head of state.

Criticised by the EU for displaying authoritarian aspects to its government, Poland is one of the few Nato countries which meets the alliance's requirement to spend two per cent of its GDP on defence, and is a regular purchaser of US military equipment.

Polish approval could also be an asset at home, especially in states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where hundreds of thousands of Polish American voters live.

Despite the populist government, Poland has experienced steady growth for years and is rising to become an economic powerhouse in Europe.

But inside the EU, senior officials are reportedly concerned Mr Trump could boost far-right politicians in Europe.

Polish Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz has said that like Mr Trump, Poland's government was being attacked by "liberals, post-communists, lefties and genderists".

He described Mr Trump as "a man who is changing the shape of the world's political scene".

Mr Trump is stopping in Poland on his way to the G20 summit in Germany, where he is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.

But in Hamburg, Mr Trump could receive a very different reception, with 100,000 protesters expected.

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