US President Trump said that he loves his “Polish friends” and he soon will be there

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday (September 1) told reporters that he will soon travel to Poland, after abruptly canceling last week a weekend trip to mark the beginning of World War Two, 80 years ago.

Trump canceled the trip to Warsaw due to Hurricane Dorian, which is set to strike the United States this weekend. Vice President Mike Pence took his place.

“I do have a great message for Poland, that we have Mike Pence, our vice president is just about landing right now, and he is representing me. I look forward to being there soon. But I just want to congratulate Poland and it’s a great country with great people. We also have many Polish people in our country. It could be eight million. We love our Polish friends and I will be there soon,” Trump said.

Commemorations in Poland

Germany’s president asked for forgiveness for his country on Sunday for the suffering of the Polish people during World War Two as Poland marked 80 years since the Nazi German invasion that unleashed the deadliest conflict in human history. The ceremonies began at 4:30 a.m. in the small town of WieluĊ„, site of one of the first bombings of the war on Sept. 1, 1939, with speeches by Polish President Andrzej Duda and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Few places saw death and destruction on the scale of Poland. It lost about a fifth of its population, including the vast majority of its 3 million Jewish citizens. “I am here to manifest my feelings for the country, my patriotism, and to remind myself about these terrible times,” 68-year-old Warsaw resident, Krzysztof Wojciechowski, said. After the war, the shattered capital of Warsaw had to rise again from ruins and Poland remained under Soviet domination until 1989.

“As a German guest I walk before you here barefoot. I look back in gratitude to the Polish people’s fight for freedom. I bow sorrowfully before the suffering of the victim,” Steinmeier said at an event later in Warsaw. “I ask for forgiveness for Germany’s historical guilt. I profess to our lasting responsibility.” U.S. Vice President Mike Pence paid tribute to the courage of the Polish people. “None fought with more valour, determination, and righteous fury than the Poles,” Pence told the gathering of leaders in Warsaw that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. Pence attended the ceremony instead of U.S. President Donald Trump who cancelled his trip due to the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, a disappointment to Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, which is seen as one of Washington’s biggest allies in Europe. “America and Poland will continue to call on our allies to live up to the promises we have made to one another,” Pence said. He will hold bilateral talks in Warsaw on Monday.

Trump and the PiS government share views on issues such as migration, energy and abortion, but the Warsaw government faces mounting isolation in Europe over accusations that it subverts democratic norms. For some in Poland, the conflict and its commemorations are still a live political issue, just weeks before a national vote. For Poland’s PiS party, the memory of the war is a major plank of its “historical politics”, aiming to counteract what it calls the West’s lack of appreciation for Polish suffering and bravery under Nazi occupation. PiS politicians have repeatedly called for war reparations from Germany, one of Poland’s biggest trade partners and a fellow member of the European Union and NATO, and several onlookers yelled “reparations” after Steinmeier spoke. Berlin says all financial claims linked to World War Two have been settled but Steinmeier continued with his theme of responsibility. “Because Germany – despite its history – was allowed to grow to new strength in Europe, we Germans must do more for Europe,” he said.

Underscoring the Warsaw conservatives’ distrust of its European allies, President Duda said World War Two may have been prevented had Western nations shown more opposition to the “manic visions” of Nazi German leader Adolf Hitler. “It’s a big lesson for us,” Duda said in a speech in Warsaw. Despite the theme of the day looking back 80 years, present day politics was, as ever, to the fore. “We know that Europe needs to become stronger and more self-confident,” Steinmeier said. “But we also know: Europe should not be strong without America – or even against America. Rather, Europe needs partners. And I’m sure America needs partners in this world too … So let’s take care of this partnership!” Conspicuously absent was Russian President Vladimir Putin who attended Sept. 1 events in Poland 10 years ago, but wasn’t invited this time, reflecting a change in relations following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

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