June 12, 2019
by President Trump and President Duda of the Republic of Poland
at the Polish-American Reception
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Well, thank you very much. Melania and I would like to just welcome you all to the White House, a very special place. One of the great homes and houses anywhere in the world. Call it a home or a house; it’s one of the greats. Very important to all of us.
And we’re here, today, to honor the incredible friendship between the United States and Poland, and to celebrate our vibrant, thriving, and proud Polish-American community, of which many of you are (inaudible). (Applause.)
And we are tremendously honored to host President Duda and Mrs. Kornhauser-Duda of Poland. And he’s a highly respected leader. He’s done a fantastic job. You’d be very, very proud of your homeland, your original place. I know so many of you came there and came directly. They are doing really well. So we’re very proud of President Duda.
And I’ve just also spent a lot of time having some very productive meetings. Good for Poland and good for the United States. The alliance between the United States and Poland is stronger than ever before.
And thanks to our U.S. Ambassador to Poland — friend of mine for a long time, Georgette Mosbacher — (applause) — where is Georgette? Hi, Georgette. Not a very good location, Georgette. I’m surprised at you. (Laughter.) That’s not like you. (Laughter.) But she’s done a fantastic job.
Another person doing an incredible job is Wilbur Ross, Secretary. Where is Wilbur? Where is Wilbur? Secretary of Commerce. (Applause.) Thank you, Wilbur.
Betsy DeVos, for joining us. Where is Betsy? Betsy? Hi, Betsy. (Applause.) Hi, Betsy. Education.
Along with some terrific people — representatives, powerful but good. Dan Lipinski. Dan? Dan Lipinski, thank you. Thank you, Dan.
Also here today is Lockheed Martin’s CEO, Marillyn Hewson. And we’re very glad to tell you that President Duda plans to purchase 32 American-made F-35s, one of the great planes. Am I right? (Applause.) Where is Marillyn? Hi, Marillyn. Good job, Marillyn. Doing an incredible job. Thank you, Marillyn.
Last week, the world commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. That was some day. In that momentous endeavor, Polish and American warriors fought side-by-side to defend their nations to defeat the Nazi regime. That Nazi regime was defeated and strongly defeated.
The heroes of D-Day remind us that no power can match the spirit of a free, proud, and sovereign people. They found that out. (Applause.)
In August, we will also mark the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, when more than 150,000 Polish patriots gave their lives to reclaim their homeland from tyranny.
On my trip to Poland two summers ago — and I will never forget it — I was deeply moved to speak at the Monument to the Warsaw Uprising. Many of you remember that scene. The people went 10 blocks long. It was like spokes on wheel and it went deep, deep. And there were — I guess, I’ve never seen anything like it.
Many young Poles ran into the streets and came face-to-face with the enemy. One such man was Richard Cosby. (Applause.) Richard Cosby. I had no idea, Rita. I’ve known Rita so long; I had no idea. Who fought for weeks on end, was gravely wounded, and was taken to a Nazi prison camp in Germany. Months later, Richard and other Polish prisoners escaped to the American front. That’s a great day for Richard.
This evening, we are honored to be joined by Richard Cosby’s daughter — and a friend of mine for a long time. I had no idea. (Applause.) Huh? That’s great. Rita. Come up here for a second, Rita. Come up here. And, Rita, I have to say, your dad’s story fills our hearts with gratitude for the Polish and American patriots who stared down evil. And I want to thank you. I’ve known her so long, and so I just had no idea. I’ve very impress- — I’m even more impressed now. Thank you. (Laughter.)
Thank you very much. Be careful. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you very much, Rita.
Today, we pay tribute to the heroes of the Warsaw Uprising and all of those who fought so courageously in Warsaw and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising the year before.
After the Second World War, the people of Poland endured a decades-long struggle to regain their independence — and it was tough — from very oppressive communist rule. And it was oppressive.
This month, we commemorate the 40th anniversary of Saint John Paul the Second’s first pilgrimage to his beloved homeland as Pope. (Applause.) He loved Poland, right? That’s great.
With us today is Jerzy Bogdziewicz. Where — Jerzy, where are you? Get over here, Jerzy. Come on. (Laughter.) Jerzy grew up in communist Poland. He and a group of fellow students met with the Pope. Was that exciting, Jerzy, meeting with the Pope? More exciting than meeting with Trump, right? (Laughter.)
MR. BOGDZIEWICZ: Yes, (inaudible).
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He said, “Yes.” I can’t believe it. (Laughter.) Thank you. Thank you, Jerzy, very much.
MR. BOGDZIEWICZ: Thank you, Mr. President, like always.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Fantastic. Thank you very much.
After the Pope’s pilgrimage, Jerzy was one of the thousands of students who joined the Solidarity Movement. And, Jerzy, we’re honored to have you and every Pole who bravely stood for the rights given to us by God. Jerzy, thank you very much. That was great. Rita, thank you very much. (Applause.)
For centuries, our nations have been united by shared aspirations and values. We celebrate the role of family in society, and the dignity of every human life. We draw inspiration from our heroes and honor from our traditions. We enrich the world through art and exploration and science. We protect our sovereignty, and we understand that law is the cornerstone of liberty.
On this very day, June 12th, in 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered his famous speech in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. Right? We remember that day. That was a special day. Soon after, through the strength of American resolve, the faith of freedom-striving nations, and the mighty spirit of the Poles, the brutal reign of communism in Central and Eastern Europe came to a peaceful end. That was a tremendous day. That was a tremendous time.
President Duda, we will never forget all that Poland has endured to win back its freedom. The story of your nation will always inspire patriots all around the world.
Here in America, Polish-Americans have built flourishing communities, industries, schools, and churches in every generation. Polish-Americans helped settle the Midwest and they helped lead the industrial revolution. They worked so hard and so smart. (Applause.)
The families here today remind us of the countless ways Polish-Americans strengthen our nation. You uplift our communities, sustain our heritage, safeguard our freedoms, and defend our great American flag. Thank you.
To every Polish-American here today, and to those around our country, we say thank you, God bless you, and God bless America. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
And now I’d like to — thank you very much. And now — I know so many of you. (Laughter.) I didn’t know you were all Polish, to be honest with you. (Laughter.) Do you hear that, Rita?
I’d like to introduce you to, now, a man who really has done such an incredible job as a leader. Respected all over the world. And your country is more respected, I think, than ever before. When you look at what’s happened in Poland, it’s truly a miracle. And what they’ve had to go through over the years — it’s never been easy for Poland. But this is a great President, and it’s an honor to have him and Mrs. Duda at the White House. Thank you very much.
Mr. President, thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT DUDA: (As interpreted.) Distinguished, Mr. President; wonderful distinguished First Lady of the United States of America; all distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen: My wife and I are greatly honored and thrilled to be here at the White House for the second time in 10 months. And we would like to thank our wonderful hosts, President Donald Trump and wonderful First Lady Melania Trump.
Ladies and gentlemen, last year, Poland celebrated the 100th anniversary of regaining independence. Last year, Poland celebrated the 100th anniversary for regaining independence. And millions of Poles, both at home and abroad, perhaps especially here in the United States, honored that hugely important historic fact.
President and First Lady, thank you for celebrating this anniversary with myself and my wife last September, here at the White House. We are hugely grateful and honored. (Applause.)
But that’s not the end. This year, Poland and the United States remember another common anniversary: the 100th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations in 1919. And from among all the countries that back then, in 1919, were valuable in the international arena — in the international stage, it was precisely the United States, which was the first great power to recognize the newly restored Polish state.
And I’m happy that we are here today not only to recollect and commemorate those anniversaries, but also to invest in our future relations.
Mr. President, one of your predecessors, the 33rd President of the United States, Harry Truman, once said, “Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still.” And then, he continued, “Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” (Applause.)
Oto jesteśmy. (In English.) “Here we are,” Mr. President. (Laughter and applause.)
(As interpreted.) A lot has been accomplished since we met here in September 2018. We have filled the declaration on strategic partnership with political, economic, energy, and security content. In all these areas, our cooperation has been dependent — benefitting both Poland and the United States.
These are not words; these are concrete effects. Our mutual relations have been deepened and strengthened through our reverence to assured values, which are the pillars of the transatlantic community.
I believe that they have evolved toward — they will evolve towards a true friendship between committed and trusted allies.
Distinguished Mr. President, in Poland we know that you are our great friend. (Applause.) And it is right here, at the White House, that — the very heart of the United States — that I would like to take this opportunity and appreciate these relations that you have with the hardworking and loyal Polish-Americans. (Applause.)
I have met thousands of them in different American cities, and I can assure you, Mr. President, that this feeling is mutual. (Applause.)
(In English.) Dear friends, in two days, America will celebrate the great anniversary. It will be the day of the birth — a new anniversary of the day of the birth of the 45th President of the United States of America, Mr. Donald Trump. (Applause.)
Happy birthday, Mr. President! Happy birthday to you. May all your dreams come true, Mr. President.
AUDIENCE: (Sings “Sto Lat.”) (Applause.)
PRESIDENT DUDA: Mr. President — Mr. President, may this first term of your presidency will be the introduction to the second one. Thank you. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thanks, everybody. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much.