On the anniversary of our national renaissance, the American President was everywhere. He has become a virtual member of the Greek Diaspora. Last week, he participated in several events connected with the Greek-American community and one directly related to Greece.
At noon on March 25, a video with the President’s very warm message was shown at an event at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Manhattan.
Later, he spoke with the Prime Minister of Greece.
He congratulated him on the anniversary of the beginning of the Greek War of Independence and he reportedly invited him to the White House as soon as the conditions of the coronavirus would allow it. (Sidenote: it is not insignificant that the President has spoken to the Greek Prime Minister before speaking to the Turkish President.)
Finally, towards the end of the day, he spoke via video conference to approximately 100 Greek-Americans; an event analogous to the annual White House reception celebrating Greek Independence Day which has taken place for many decades.
But what is particularly important, and what I want to emphasize, is that there is an impressive continuity between his speeches and actions before he was elected President and what he said and did in the three interactions he had with the Greek-American community and with the Greek Prime Minister after he was elected.
I emphasize this because we are accustomed to an inconsistency between campaign statements and elected officials’ actions, which has offended us and made us cynical about politicians.
In this case, we had the opposite kind of encounter: a sincere one, an unusual post-election outcome.
I cannot predict the future and I cannot guarantee that this pattern will continue. We are aware that the beginning is certainly the easier part. The difficult thing will be the synchronization of words and deeds in the U.S.’s foreign policy regarding U.S.-Greece relations and the unacceptable claims of Turkey to the detriment of Greece and Cyprus.
But, at least, if nothing else, we begin with the solid foundation of a U.S. President who has known and appreciated Greek-Americans for many years.
And, of course, we recognize that the President will act on the basis, not only of his own feelings, but also of the interests of his country. It is therefore up to us, at least to a large extent, to make sure that our respective interests are aligned.