LGBT rights groups have condemned
Polish President Andrzej Duda's upcoming visit to the White House.
President Donald Trump will welcome
Duda on Wednesday.
“The visit comes at a critical time
for both the United States and Poland, as we reopen our countries
after months of battling the coronavirus pandemic,” the White House
said in a statement. “As close partners and NATO allies, the United
States and Poland continue to expand our cooperation across a wide
range of issues. President Trump and President Duda will discuss
further advancing our cooperation on defense, as well as trade,
energy, and telecommunications security.”
Polish voters on Sunday will decide
whether to elect Duda to a second term. In a bid to win over
far-right voters, Duda has vowed to fight so-called “LGBT ideology”
and block same-sex marriage in Poland. He also called the LGBT rights
movement more dangerous than communism.
“President Andrzej Duda’s visit to
the White House on the eve of Poland’s upcoming presidential
election is a clear and unambiguous attempt to leverage Trump’s
anti-LGBTQ rhetoric in the Polish elections,” Alphonso David,
president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement.
“Rather than offering up effective solutions to the challenges
facing Poland, especially during the global COVID-19 crisis, Duda is
attempting to shore up his base by running on a virulently anti-LGBTQ
platform. It is a vile, manipulative and dangerous election tactic
that threatens the lives, freedom and dignity of LGBTQ people in
Poland. By supporting Duda in advancing an anti-LGBTQ platform,
President Trump, once again, shows that he is no friend to the LGBTQ
community – in the U.S. or abroad. And we will hold him accountable
Freedom House, which focuses on human
rights, said in a statement that the visit sends the message that the
United States supports Duda's policies.
“We are concerned that the White
House visit is sending a signal of political support for a candidate
whose campaign has engaged in homophobic and antisemitic rhetoric,”
Freedom House's Zselyke Csaky said in a statement. “The
scapegoating of minority groups is a dangerous strategy and should be
condemned, not supported by the president of the United States.”
Trump and Duda have met on four other