Trump in Poland: ‘Our values will prevail’

President Trump on Thursday underlined his commitment to Western values and his willingness to stand up to Russia during a speech in Warsaw that seemed designed to reassure European allies.

“The West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail, our people will thrive, and our civilization will triumph,” Trump told an audience at Krasinski Square, where a monument to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising against German occupation stands.

Trump took a firm tone with Russia, warning Moscow to stop its “destabilizing activities” in Ukraine and its support for hostile governments in Syria and Iran.

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It was a message that seemed directed toward a Polish audience worried about Russia’s creeping influence and historic role in their country.

But at a press conference earlier in the day, he downplayed Russia’s involvement in the U.S. presidential election.

“I think it was Russia but I think it was probably other people and/or countries, and I see nothing wrong with that statement,” he said of interference in the election.

“Nobody really knows,” he added. “Nobody really knows for sure.

“It was Russia and I think it was probably others also and that's been going on for a long period of time.”

On the subject of radical Islamic terrorism, Trump said in his speech that the U.S. and its allies needed to protect “our way of life.”

“We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have,” Trump said.

Trump defended controversial new policies in the United States intended to improve security, including a temporary ban on travelers from six predominantly Muslim nations.

“While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.” 

A Supreme Court decision last month allowed a limited version of the ban to go into effect last week.

He also said the United States must work to combat “new forms of aggression.”

“To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyber warfare, we must adopt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields,” he said.

Ahead of the address, an administration official briefing reporters said the core theme of the speech was meant to be a defense of Western civilization.

“The basic question of the speech is are we as a civilization confident enough in our own values to defense and preserve our civilization,” the official said.

The setting in Warsaw was to demonstrate “vividly just how much has been sacrificed to preserve our civilization and society.”

After the speech, Trump was set to travel to Hamburg, Germany, for the annual G-20 summit, where he also will have a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During Trump’s first foreign trip in May, the president disappointed European allies when he stopped short of publicly underlining U.S. support for NATO’s Article 5, under which partners in the military alliance pledge to support one another if a nation in the alliance is attacked.

The speech on Thursday was more reassuring in tone.

Trump has sought to get members of NATO to meet their financial commitments to the military alliance of spending 2 percent of their GDP on defense.

In Poland, worries about Russia have been on the rise with Moscow’s intervention in neighboring Ukraine. Russia has had a military presence in Ukraine since 2014, when it annexed the region of Crimea, and has been accused of materially supporting armed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow separately has been accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and in electoral contests in Europe. In the U.S., it is accused of seeking to hurt Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump: Cohen only became a ‘rat’ after FBI 'broke into' office Giuliani indicates Trump Tower Moscow discussions took place up until November 2016 Hillary Clinton writes letter to 8-year-old girl who lost class president to male classmate MORE and help Trump.

While Trump’s speech echoed previous U.S presidents and was traditional in tone, a brasher president spoke in a more off-the-cuff manner at a press conference earlier in the day.

Besides questioning the degree of Russia’s influence in the election, Trump criticized the media and former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama urges people to sign up for health insurance after ruling striking down law The 2020 Democratic nomination will run through the heart of black America Gillibrand says she's worried about top options in Dem 2020 poll being white men MORE for not doing enough at the time to react to any foreign involvement in the presidential contest.