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White House to host Polish president in first foreign delegation visit since coronavirus pandemic


President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda hold a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 18, 2018. 

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The White House will host Poland’s President Andrzej Duda this week in what will be the first visit by a foreign leader since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Duda’s Wednesday meeting with President Donald Trump, which was unexpectedly announced last week, comes four days ahead of Poland’s presidential election on June 28.

Senior administration officials told reporters on a Tuesday call that both U.S. and Polish delegations will be tested for the coronavirus ahead of the White House discussions.

“The White House is continuing to implement very high health and safety procedures for all visitors, all members of both the Polish and US delegation, are going to be tested for their protection, as well as for the protection of both presidents’ Trump and Duda,” said one administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The person would not elaborate when asked by CNBC if either president or their aides would be wearing masks during the meetings.

White House officials touted Warsaw’s financial commitments to NATO a well as the approximately $16 billion in foreign military sales, which includes America’s most expensive weapons system, the F-35 Lightning II fighter. 

A naval aviator with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 501 flies an F-35 above North Carolina during aerial refueling training on April 14, 2015.

Cpl. Unique Roberts | U.S. Marine Corps

What’s more, the visit comes as the Trump administration plans to draw down American military personnel in Germany and reassign those U.S. forces elsewhere. The move resurfaces claims made by the Trump administration that the NATO ally has been “delinquent in their payments” to the security alliance.

The White House officials were mum to offer details of the partial withdrawal from Germany and would not discuss the possibility that service members could potentially be relocated to Poland. Instead, the administration officials volleyed questions on the matter to White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien’s op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. 

“The Cold War practice of garrisoning large numbers of troops with their families on massive bases in places like Germany is now, in part, obsolete. Modern warfare is increasingly expeditionary and requires platforms with extended range, flexibility and endurance. While air bases and logistics hubs remain important, the Cold War-style garrisoning of troops makes less military and fiscal sense than it did in the 1970s,” O’Brien wrote in an op-ed published on Sunday.

He added that the 25,000 U.S. troops slated to remain in Germany still represents a “strong” commitment to Germany by the United States.


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