As most of you know, President Trump visited Warsaw last week and gave a speech, focusing primarily on NATO and the West, before heading to the G20 in Hamburg. I learned about the speech a few months in advance from some of my co-workers, but it was really only until a week before his arrival that you knew something was happening.
His speech would take place in Krasiński Square, in front of the Warsaw Uprising Monument and the Supreme Court Building. Moreover, the Polish government, both national and local, took this event really seriously. In fact, I was rather surprised by how serious they took it. There were signs all over the city and massive displays for his speech. What was particularly interesting about the preparation for Trump’s speech was that the government decided to rent out the city’s entire coach system and bring people in from the countryside. I thought this was a bit strange, but they did promise Trump a big crowd so they were, in a sense, fulfilling their promise.
Anyways, the day of Trump’s speech arrived. July 6th to be exact. I learned the night before that I was scheduled to interview a columnist from the NYT for a script I’m currently writing at 2:00 PM. And Trump’s speech was to take place at 1:00.
I knew that if I were to try to find the speech I would have to do it quickly. So at around lunchtime, roughly 12:30, I left the office to go to Krasiński Square. I hopped on the metro and rode it for three stops before hopping off at Ratusz Arsenał, about a half mile from the square. I walked briskly towards the square only to find, much to my chagrin, a crowd of people as far as the eye could see. I tried pushing my way through the crowd, but I would have to do it for a quarter mile if I was to get any where near the president. I was an idiot for assuming that Poles wouldn’t turn out in droves to see Trump.
So I tried another alley. Same story. And another. And another. Finally, I looked at my watched and noticed it was about 1:30 and if I was to make it back on time I had to leave immediately. I was a bit deflated that I didn’t get to see or even hear any of the speech. At the same time, I was amused with my own lack of foresight.
Anyways, the ending to this story was rather anti-climactic, but that’s how it happened. I didn’t get to see Trump after all. But at least I get to say I was in the vicinity of the speech, whatever that means.