Trump and Polish President Discussed War in Ukraine at New York Meeting

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda discussed the war in Ukraine and a conflict in the Middle East during their two-and-half hour meeting at Trump Tower on Wednesday evening in New York.

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The Polish president described the meeting as “friendly” and conducted in a “nice atmosphere” in remarks to reporters. Trump said Duda has “done a fantastic job,” adding the two men “had four great years together” and they “may have to do it again” as he seeks the second term as Republican presidential candidate.

The exchange of pleasantries came as Congress is gearing up for crunch vote — expected on Saturday — on new assistance for Ukraine and Israel in the face of resistance from Republican hardliners. The measures would require economic assistance to Ukraine be repaid, taking up an idea Trump floated.

Duda developed close ties with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in the early months of the conflict and has been urging western allies to support Poland’s war-torn neighbor as it faces shortage of ammunition and air defense.

Trump discussed Duda’s proposal for NATO members to increase their defense spending to 3% of economic output, according to an emailed readout from Trump’s office. Republican presidential candidate alarmed allies with his remarks earlier this year, where he appeared to suggest that he would encourage Russia to attack countries that didn’t meet the alliance’s defense spending obligations.

Duda has long boasted about his ties with Trump that go back to his first term in office, which overlapped with Trump’s presidency. He famously asked Trump during a White House visit in 2018 to set up a permanent US military base, offering to call it “Fort Trump.”

The ties have created tensions with the government. Prime Minister Donald Tusk warned on Tuesday that Trump’s potential return to the White House would be detrimental to European security and the future of NATO. Duda’s allies from populist Law & Justice party were ousted from office in October and the president’s relations with the new government have been rocky.

Duda will be the second leader from the European Union’s eastern member states to meet with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee this year. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida last month in a meeting that was criticized by President Joe Biden.

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