Politics

Polish PM Wants Apology From Bill Clinton for Saying Country Wants Dictatorship

Bill Clinton at a Massachusetts rally for his wife / Christine Peterson/Worcester Telegram & Gazette via AP

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło wants an apology from Bill Clinton for his "unjustified and simply unfair" comments that Poland wants "an authoritarian dictatorship", the Associated Press reports.

The AP reported Wednesday that while on the campaign trail for his wife, Clinton made a couple comments that have offended our allies abroad.

Speaking in New Jersey in support of wife Hillary's U.S. presidential campaign, Clinton said Hungary and Poland "would not be free" if not for the United States, but "have now decided this democracy is too much trouble."

"They want (Russian President Vladimir) Putin-like leadership. Just give me an authoritarian dictatorship and keep the foreigners out," he said.

"Sound familiar?" Clinton asked, in apparent reference to campaign statements by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Another top Polish political figure has come out in protest of Clinton's words:

Clinton was also referring to Warsaw and Budapest protesting European Union plans to redistribute some of the tens of thousands of refugees flooding into Europe and refusing to take in some of them.

The head of Poland's conservative ruling party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, said Clinton is misinformed.

"If someone says there is no democracy in Poland today, that means he should have a medical test," he said.

Some Western politicians say Poland's conservative Law and Justice party, which won the presidential and the parliamentary elections last year, does threaten some democratic principles and the rule of law. It has been criticized for the continuing paralysis of the Constitutional Tribunal, its tighter grip on state-owned media and allowing greater surveillance powers for police, issues that have led to massive street protests.

Hungary has also been offended by Clinton's comments. Politico reported:

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in a statement Tuesday that "no one, not even Bill Clinton, can allow himself to offend the Hungarian people in this way."

The comparison to Putin was what was most distressing to the people of Poland. Russia and Poland have had a complicated relationship since World War II, which is only heightened by Poland's membership in NATO.

Even Polish-Americans have come out against these statements:

Frank Spula, the head of an organization in Chicago representing some 10 million Americans of Polish origin, told Polish state radio that Clinton's words "must sicken anybody who knows the history of Poland and of the Poles."