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Trump and Polish president discuss U.S. troop presence in Europe

Washington — President Trump held a joint press conference at the White House on Wednesday with Polish President Andrzej Duda, who is the first foreign leader to travel to the White House since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The two leaders focused on the security partnership between the U.S. and Poland. Mr. Trump slammed unnamed NATO member countries that are "delinquent with respect to their dues, the money they're supposed to be paying on defense." Although some countries have not met the 2% target for spending per GDP on defense, NATO does not collect "dues."

Mr. Trump also discussed the decision by the U.S. to reduce its forces in Germany, citing German "delinquency" in defense spending. He added that some troops withdrawn from Germany would "probably" go to Poland.

Meanwhile, Duda said the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Germany would be "very detrimental to European security" and he asked that the U.S. consider maintaining its long-term presence in Europe. He said he would be "ready" to receive American troops in Poland.

Mr. Trump praised Duda ahead of the Polish election on June 28, saying he believes Duda "will be successful" in winning re-election. He also underlined the "shared cultural values" of the U.S. and Poland. Duda is strongly opposed to LGBTQ rights.

The visit comes as several states have seen record highs in coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, Mr. Trump visited Arizona, which has seen a recent increase in cases. He appeared at a rally with limited social distancing and with few people wearing masks, even as infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci discouraged Americans from congregating in large crowds in a hearing before Congress.

Mr. Trump said that there would be collaboration between the two countries on distributing a vaccine for coronavirus, and said that he believed there would be a "beautiful surprise" in developing a vaccine "very soon."

More than 121,000 Americans have died from the virus, and there have been 2.3 million cases in the U.S. In Poland, there have been over 32,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and over 1,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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