Poland Puts on a Brave Face as Trump Skips Visit Due to Hurricane

(Bloomberg) -- Poland’s authorities put on a brave face as U.S. President Donald Trump called off a visit to Warsaw to commemorate the start of World War II because a big storm on the Atlantic was heading toward Florida.

The government has for weeks played up Trump’s two-day trip, which was due to come during a parliamentary election campaign, as a sign of U.S. backing for its policies and close friendship with Polish President Andrzej Duda.

“President Trump said that he considers his trip postponed not canceled,” Krzysztof Szczerski, a top adviser to Duda, told Onet.pl on Friday. The trip should be rescheduled for “the nearest months,” although “details haven’t yet been planned.”

Szczerski said that Trump called Duda about half an hour before he announced his decision on Thursday evening in Washington, citing concern over strengthening Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to strike Florida by Monday. Vice President Mike Pence will come to Warsaw instead of Trump.

Trump will reschedule his visit as soon as possible, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said in Warsaw on Friday. Bolton and Szczerski will discuss details of that later in the day.

The Polish ruling camp considers itself a political ally of Trump. In the past four years, Poland has fallen out with a number of its allies in the European Union, while the bloc has repeatedly sued the Polish government for eroding democratic standards.

“Trump’s visit was supposed to boost Law & Justice leadership in election polls in the last month of campaign,” sociologist Marcin Palade said on Twitter. “The contest will be more fair without it.”

The EU discord makes relations with the U.S. even more important, and Poland has successfully lobbied to get more U.S. troops stationed on its soil as part of NATO’s deterrent against Russia. Trump was supposed to take part in remembrance ceremonies marking the start of the world’s bloodiest conflict, which began on Sept. 1, 1939.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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