‘Polish death camp’ latest in Obama’s foreign policy missteps with Poles, voters
President Barack Obama, who has been using the White House as a stage to showcase his foreign policy credentials to U.S. voters, managed to flub his lines Tuesday when he accidentally blamed Poles for committing the Holocaust.
He made the error while explaining his award of a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jan Karski, a Polish fighter in World War II who secretly documented Adolf Hitler’s effort to wipe out the Jews.
“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,” Obama said.
“It’s a pity that such a dignified ceremony was overshadowed by ignorance and incompetence,” Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said in reaction May 29.
Obama’s comment “shocked the Poles present at the White House and those watching on C-SPAN. … Karski would have cringed if he heard this,” Alex Storozynski, president of the Kosciuszko Foundation, told the AP.
The White House’s press office quickly apologized for Obama’s flubbed lines.
“The president misspoke,” said a statement from Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “He was referring to Nazi death camps in Poland. We regret this misstatement, which should not detract from the clear intention to honor Mr. Karski and those brave citizens who stood on the side of human dignity in the face of tyranny.”
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