In Poland, Trump Asks Whether West Has ‘Will to Survive’ – New York Times

• West European countries had hoped to isolate Mr. Trump after he rejected the Paris climate change agreement, but those efforts appear to be faltering.

In speech, Trump calls for unity against terrorism.

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Trump Reaffirms Commitment to NATO and Europe

In Warsaw, President Trump also reaffirmed the need to keep Europe and the world safe, described Russia’s behavior as “destabilizing” and called for nations to confront the “threat” from North Korea.


By REUTERS.


Photo by Stephen Crowley/The New York Times.

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Mr. Trump delivered a message on Thursday of determination in the face of terrorism to the Polish people in a speech in Krasinski Square, where a monument commemorates the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis, calling on the West to defend itself in a good-versus-evil fight against extremism.

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” he said, employing the same life-or-death language as his inauguration speech, which promised a war against the “American carnage” of urban crime.

“Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” — Julie Hirschfeld Davis

Trump demands that Moscow halt ‘destabilizing activities.’

In the strongest terms that he has used to date, Mr. Trump used his speech to urge Russia to stop its “destabilizing activities” and its support for “hostile regimes” including Iran and Syria, delivering a broadside on the eve of his meeting with Mr. Putin, and he said that Poland had agreed to buy the Patriot missile defense system from the United States.

Mr. Trump made the remarks during a visit calculated in part to signal his backing for a NATO ally, Poland, that is facing Russian aggression on its eastern flank. And he made an explicit pledge to honor the collective defense principle that undergirds the trans-Atlantic alliance, something he pointedly refused to do in May when he spoke at NATO headquarters in Brussels.

While Mr. Trump made mention of the terrible toll wreaked by the Nazis on Poland and its once thriving Jewish population, many of his comments were targeted at the onetime invaders from the East. The president noted that Joseph Stalin had halted his troops outside the city during the uprising, allowing German forces to exterminate or capture Polish partisans fighting in the ruins of the city.

“The Soviet armed forces stopped and waited,” he reminded his Polish audience, drawing applause as well as chants of “Donald Trump!” and “Hail to the heroes!” The Soviets, he added, “tried to destroy this nation forever by shattering its will to survive.” — Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Glenn Thrush

Poland loves America, but views on Trump are more complicated.

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Friendly crowds gathered to listen to Mr. Trump’s speech.

Credit
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Trump got a full dose of adulation from the overflow crowd that greeted him in Krasinski Square, which was filled with Polish and American flags and dominated by the imposing monument to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

“I respect Mr. Trump’s views on immigrants,” said Slawomir Famulski, 38, who brought his two children, Zofia, 10, and Tomasz, 8, to “teach them about patriotism.”

Mr. Famulski’s family clustered near a giant television screen on a side street. The choice of the square, with its monument to the heroic but doomed uprising against Nazi occupation, sent a clear message, he said. “He is letting both Germany and Russia know to back off Poland,” Mr. Famulski said of Mr. Trump.

While opinions about the current American president are split, Poland is perhaps the most fiercely pro-American country in Europe.

“My hope, which will probably remain unfulfilled, is that Trump ends all this drama with Russia, Germany, Britain, France and all the others, said Elzbieta Wielecka, 69, who came to Warsaw from Rybnik, a town in southern Poland.

“But I’m just not sure if Trump can deliver,” she added. “He says one thing in one moment, and then changes his mind in the next.” — Rick Lyman and Joanna Berendt

Trump’s decision not to visit Warsaw Ghetto monument is called a ‘slight.’

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Ivanka Trump at the Warsaw Ghetto memorial on Thursday.

Credit
Przemyslaw Piatkowski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Mr. Trump drew criticism from Polish Jews for failing to visit a monument at the site of the Warsaw Ghetto that memorializes an uprising by Jews against the Nazis in 1943.

Rabbi Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland; Anna Chipczynska, president of the Jewish Community of Warsaw; and Leslaw Piszewski, the president of Union of Jewish Communities of Poland, called Mr. Trump’s omission “a slight.”

Every American president and vice president who has visited Warsaw since the fall of communism in 1989 has visited the monument to the doomed but heroic ghetto uprising.

Hours after the Jewish leaders issued their rebuke, the White House said that Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and senior adviser, who is an observant Jew, had visited the ghetto monument on Thursday, where she laid a wreath, and visited the Polin Museum of the History of the Jews.

Ms. Trump said her visit was “a deeply moving experience,” according to a statement given to the White House press pool traveling with Mr. Trump. — Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Rick Lyman

Was Russia solely responsible for campaign meddling? ‘Nobody really knows.’

Mr. Trump suggested on Thursday that he still was not convinced that Russia was solely responsible for interference in the 2016 election, breaking with American intelligence agencies who have agreed that the effort emanated from Moscow and was directed by Mr. Putin.

“I think it was Russia, and it could have been other people in other countries,” Mr. Trump said when asked for a yes-or-no answer to the question about Russian meddling.

“Nobody really knows,” he added, arguing that American intelligence agencies had made serious mistakes in the past, including an assessment before the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 that Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction. “Nobody really knows for sure.” — Julie Hirschfeld Davis

Trump criticizes CNN, denounces ‘fake news’ and defends a divisive tweet.

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Mr. Trump and President Andrzej Duda of Poland tag-teamed in Warsaw on Thursday to denounce the credibility of the news media.

Credit
Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Trump tag-teamed with Poland’s president to denounce the media — hitting CNN and “fake news” while defending what he suggested was a lighthearted tweet of a video showing him body-slamming a figure whose head was replaced by the CNN logo.

What made Mr. Trump’s sermon against the mainstream media different this time was the fact Mr. Duda’s center-right party, Law and Justice, proposed restricting media access to Parliament last year. The government backed down after street protests.

“They have been fake news for a long time, and they have been covering me” in a dishonest way, Mr. Trump said of CNN when asked about the tweet at the news conference with Mr. Duda at the Royal Castle in Warsaw. “We don’t want fake news,” he added, as Mr. Duda nodded vigorously in agreement.

Mr. Duda, responding to an American reporter’s question about his own actions toward the news media, blamed Polish journalists for intentionally distorting his record and for failing to include his positions in articles critical of his government. — Glenn Thrush

U.S. weighs a ‘pretty severe’ response to North Korea.

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An American missile was fired during joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea on Wednesday, a response to North Korea’s test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Credit
South Korea Defense Ministry, via Associated Press

Mr. Trump said on Thursday that he was weighing “some pretty severe things” to respond to the nuclear threat from North Korea, and he called on all nations to confront what he called the “global threat” from Pyongyang.

“We’ll see what happens — I don’t like to talk about what we have planned — but I have some pretty severe things that we’re thinking about,” Mr. Trump said at the news conference with Mr. Duda. “They are behaving in a very, very serious manner, and something will have to be done about it.”

North Korea conducted a successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that appeared capable of hitting Alaska. Mr. Trump said he and Mr. Duda had spoken about confronting terrorism as well as “the threat from North Korea, and that’s what it is — it is a threat, and we will confront it very strongly.”

He said the United States and nations around the world must “demonstrate that there are consequences for their very, very bad behavior.” — Julie Hirschfeld Davis

Putin indicates he’s willing to work with Merkel.

Mr. Putin weighed in on the disputes looming over the G-20 summit meeting, publishing a signed piece in Germany’s leading business daily, Handelsblatt, on Thursday that expressed support for the German hosts on free trade and preserving the Paris climate accord.

In the same piece, however, he also appealed to the West to lift sanctions “which have no future” or place in the digital global economy of the 21st century.

The Russian leader is scheduled to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France for talks that German officials said would focus on the conflict in Ukraine. Mr. Putin did not mention the seizure of Crimea or the fighting in eastern Ukraine in his piece. “We share the priorities of the German presidency, and are prepared to work for their realization,” he said. — Alison Smale


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