Warsaw, Poland – U.S. President Donald Trump has caused outrage after congratulating Poland on the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II.
Trump was initially scheduled to visit Warsaw on a two-day trip to attend the commemorations to mark the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion, on September 1, 1939, and the outbreak of World War II.
Rumours about Trump cancelling his Poland trip started circulating after he abruptly scrapped a visit to Denmark, due to take place right after, following his spat with the country’s Prime Minister over the purchase of Greenland.
Saying he needed to monitor Hurricane Dorian that was making its way to the southern coast of the U.S., the President cancelled at the last minute his long-awaited trip, sending Vice-President Mike Pence instead and forcing Polish authorities to put up a brave face.
But things got worse. When asked by reporters if he had a message for Poland on the 80th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion, the President said “I just want to congratulate Poland”, adding: “It’s a great country with great people. We also have many Polish people in our country; it could be 8 million. We love our Polish friends. And I will be there soon”.
His insensitive comments on the anniversary marking one of the darkest days in Poland’s history came under fire in the Central European country and was met with a mix of outrage and mockery on social media. One user commented: “The guy has no idea what happened in 1939”.
Around 6 million Poles died during the Second World War as a result of the country’s invasion and occupation by Nazi Germany.
Some media and commentators have attempted to downplay the President’s blunder, arguing Trump didn’t hear the second part of the reporter’s question and only answered to “Do you have a message for Poland…”
But the whole business further worsened when it appeared that, although cancelling his European trip to monitor a federal response to Hurricane Dorian, Trump instead left the presidential retreat in Camp David to fly to the Trump National Golf Club in Virginia… his 226th day spent on the golf-course as president.