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WARSAW, Poland — President Donald Trump kicked off his second foreign trip on friendly turf Wednesday night before facing a potentially tougher crowd at the G20 Summit on Friday.
Trump descended onto a red carpet with First Lady Melania Trump followed by senior advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, among others. They were greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Poland Paul Jones and his wife, as well as Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski and Minister of State Krzysktof Szczerski, before loading into the motorcade.
Mrs. Trump wore a green jacket and received a bouquet of flowers from the greeting party. Revelers lined the streets to take photos as Trump's motorcade cruised by.
Trump’s time in Poland will be short, but packed with events — and comes at a time when many Poles are concerned about the growing threat from Moscow. For Poland, NATO is essential to combating that threat.
"We’d like to hear that [affirmation] every day from the president of the United States and actually from leaders of all other NATO countries," Polish Ambassador Piotr Wilczek told a gathering of reporters before Trump's trip.
But it's unclear if that affirmation will come. Trump prompted skepticism and concern from allies when he declined to directly affirm Article 5, which assures mutual defense of NATO allies, at NATO's Brussels headquarters last month.
The White House said then that the words would have been redundant, as Trump's attendance at the meeting affirmed the commitment.
The president will give what National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster billed last week as a “major speech” to the Polish people Thursday in Krasinski Square. He is expected to commemorate the Polish people’s bravery during World War II, while calling for allies to confront today’s challenges with the same courage.
That speech was still in the works when the president's plane landed Wednesday night, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on board.
While in Warsaw, Trump will also meet with Polish President Andrzej Duda and attend a roundtable for the Three Seas Initiative, focusing on infrastructure development and energy security.
Duda's official website previews a press conference with Trump; however, Huckabee Sanders hedged Wednesday night about if Trump will definitely take questions. Trump did not hold any press conferences on his first trip abroad — a departure from past presidents on foreign trips.
The Three Seas meetings will likely broach the topic of liquefied natural gas — Poland received its first U.S. shipment of LNG last month — which experts say could send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin about America’s energy emergence in the region, as well as the U.S. commitment to Central and Eastern Europe.
The highly anticipated Trump-Putin tête-à-tête comes Friday at the G20, with the White House still mum on whether Trump will bring up Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election during the bilateral meeting.