President Barack Obama honored 12 people at the Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House yesterday while dishonoring an entire country and its people. Now, the prime minister of that country – Poland – is severely criticizing Obama and expects an explanation from him.
CLICK HERE to read: Polish death camps: White House responds via Jay Carney
While honoring a Polish resistance hero, Jan Karski, President Obama made reference to a Polish death camp. Prime Minister Donald Tusk is outraged at the use of the phrase by the United States president. Of the comment made by Obama, Tusk said that the statement shows ignorance, lack of knowledge, bad intentions, and a distortion of history.
Prime Minister Tusk said:
When someone says “Polish death camps,” it is as if there were no Nazis, no German responsibility, as if there was no Hitler – that is why our Polish sensitivity in these situations is so much more than just simply a feeling of national pride.
Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, expressed regret for the comment regarding Polish death camps and admitted that President Obama had misspoken. Prime Minister Tusk emphatically rejected the gesture.
Via his website through translation, Tusk said:
I am convinced that today, our American friends are capable of a stronger reaction – a clearer one, and one which perhaps eliminates, once and for all, these types of mistakes – than just the correction itself and the regret which we heard from the White House spokesperson.
We take note of these words, but it seems that it would be even more important for the United States than for Poland to end this with class. That is how one acts with regard to tried-and-tested friends, but this is also how one acts in your own, well-defined interest. I believe our allies are capable of such behavior.
Jan <Karski> served as a courier for the Polish resistance during the darkest days of World War II. Before one trip across enemy lines, resistance fighters told him that Jews were being murdered on a massive scale, and smuggled him into the Warsaw Ghetto and a Polish death camp to see for himself.
Additionally, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski chimed in via Twitter and messaged a demand for an apology for the outrageous mistake that had occurred at the Medal of Freedom ceremony:
Here, in Poland, we cannot accept such words even if they are spoken by the leader of a friendly power – or perhaps especially in such situations – since we expect diligence, care, and respect from our friends on issues of such importance as World War II remembrance.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom received by Jan Karski and 11 other United States civilians on Tuesday at the White House is the highest honor that a civilian can receive.
CLICK HERE to read: Medal of Freedom recipients honored by President Obama at the White House
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The primary source of this article is ABC.
Sources: ABC, New York Post