Miloš Zeman accepts invitation to visit Trump at White House
US president-elect Donald Trump has invited Czech president Miloš Zeman to the White house next year, Prague Castle has revealed. The pair spoke by telephone on Tuesday, affirming a common stance on issues such as migration and battling terrorism.
Back in late November, the US president-elect spoke with Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban, the first European leader who publicly backed Trump. Orban has also received an invitation to the White House. Petr Kratochvíl is the director of the Institute of International Relations Prague. I asked him how the invitations extended to Zeman and Orban, who are both perceived as populist leaders in Europe, might impact US-European relations:
Both Viktor Orban and Miloš Zeman are well known for their populist stances, particularly on immigration and battling Islamist terrorism. Back in November, Orban hailed the election of Trump as representing the end of “the era of liberal non-democracy”. After the election, Miloš Zeman also released a statement saying that in choosing Trump, the “American people had not allowed themselves to be manipulated by the media.”
According to the Castle, during Tuesday’s call Trump expressed gratitude for the fact that Zeman was the only European president to express public support for the Republican candidate prior to November’s election. But Petr Kratochvíl suggests that Zeman’s support for Trump in an internal American election, which included levelling insults at rival candidate Hillary Clinton, broke with accepted practice:
Czech president Miloš Zeman was never afforded an official White House visit by outgoing president Barack Obama, but the pair did meet, for example during a 2015 reception in New York marking the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.