Donald Trump’s first foreign visitor to the White House since the coronavirus crisis will be Poland’s ragingly homophobic president
After months of isolation, Donald Trump is reopening the White House to foreign visitors – and his first guest of honour is Poland’s homophobic president, Andrzej Duda.
Trump’s last visit from a foreign leader was that of Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar on March 12, the day after the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic.
He’s now rolling out the red carpet for Duda on June 24, four days before Poland’s presidential election, likely giving him a big electoral boost before ahead of the tightly-contested vote.
In recent weeks Duda has ramped up his homophobic rhetoric to appeal to his conservative base, pledging to “defend children from LGBT+ ideology” and comparing the LGBT+ rights movement to a communist dictatorship.
At a campaign rally on June 13 he told supporters that his parents’ generation did not struggle to cast off the chains of communism only to now accept “an ideology” that is “even more destructive to the human being”.
Days before, he signed a ‘family values’ declaration that vowed to “protect children from LGBT+ ideology” and prohibit the teaching of LGBT+ inclusion by public institutions.
“It’s a foreign ideology. There is no consent for this phenomenon to happen in our country in any way,” he declared as he promised to block the legalisation of same-sex marriage and adoption.
Critics have said Trump should do more to push back on Duda’s autocratic and homophobic tendencies, but given Trump’s close relationship with other anti-gay leaders, this looks unlikely.
In reality, the White House visit will be interpreted by many voters as Trump giving his overt backing to Duda’s campaign, gifting him with a coveted photo opportunity just before Poles go to the polls.
Trump has had an affinity for the Polish president since his trip to Warsaw in 2017, where a large crowd gathered listen to him deliver a speech on US-European relations.
In turn, Duda has sought to curry favour with Trump, flattering his ego with the suggestion of naming a Polish military base Fort Trump.