Tusk says Trump, Kaczynski behave like 'bad-tempered brats'

·2-min read
G20 leaders summit in Hamburg
G20 leaders summit in Hamburg

WARSAW (Reuters) - Former European Council President Donald Tusk has compared both Donald Trump and the leader of Poland's ruling party to "bad-tempered brats" who use lies and conflict to stay in power.

Tusk, a former Polish prime minister who now heads the main centre-right grouping in the European Parliament, said Kaczynski and Trump used similar strategies of dividing society and using propaganda to keep their hold on power.

Known for his no-holds-barred comments, Tusk said Trump's attempts to halt ballot counting after Tuesday's presidential election were a blow to U.S. democracy, and also said that if he were not against corporal punishment he would "spank" Kaczynski, his longtime arch rival in Polish politics.

"This is characteristic of the rules of the radical right," Tusk told private television broadcaster TVN24, commenting on the actions of both Trump and Kaczynski.

"If we look at Trump's behaviour, especially in the recent hours... or at Jaroslaw Kaczynski, then their common feature is that they behave like the most bad-tempered brats in a sandpit ... Conflict, unjustified aggression, is their element," said Tusk.

Trump has falsely claimed that the U.S. election is being "stolen" from him, as his Democratic challenger Joe Biden gains more ground on him in the battleground states of Georgia and Pennsylvania on Friday. He has sought to portray as fraudulent the slow counting of mail-in ballots.

Like Trump, Kaczynski, leader of Poland's ruling nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), stands accused by his critics of stoking social tensions. Kaczynski said during recent massive street protests that a top court's ruling that amounts to a near total ban on abortion cannot be reversed and demanded that Poles defend the church.

Asked what he would say to Kaczynski, Tusk said: "If I were not a staunch opponent of corporal punishment, I think that one would actually have to spank him, because he sometimes behaves like a monstrous, unbearable brat."

A spokeswoman of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, led by Kaczynski, was not immediately available to comment.

Throughout his nearly four-year presidency Trump has stirred strong emotions among both supporters and opponents.

Tusk also said that Trump's calls to stop counting the votes were a "brutal blow to the essence of American democracy".

He added that if Biden were to win, relations between the United States and the European Union would improve.

"Donald Trump, and I witnessed that, has criticized the EU, comparing it to China. He wasn't hiding his deep antipathy to united Europe. Joe Biden is the opposite of Trump in this respect - he is very attached to the traditional Euro-American bond," Tusk also said.

(Reporting by Agnieszka Barteczko; Editing by Hugh Lawson)