Warsaw’s liberal mayor is catching heat for what critics say are unjustified claims he is making about his role in fighting the coronavirus crisis.
The mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, who is also the deputy chairman of the Civic Platform (PO) and a former presidential candidate, took part in an international panel concerning local governments fighting the pandemic. The Atlantic Council has published a fragment of Trzaskowski’s speech in which he spoke of tension between local authorities and the central government.
“Our conservative government does not like us to put it mildly, and there was quite a lot of competition at the beginning (of the pandemic),” he started.
— Atlantic Council (@AtlanticCouncil) May 6, 2021
Trzaskowski went on to claim that there was chaos at the start of the pandemic because the situation had overcome everyone, and local governments operated in accordance with government guidelines. He declared that during the second and third waves, however, local governments should take responsibility into their own hands.
“Now, there’s this huge thing about vaccinations, so we’re organizing our own places such as stadiums in which we can actually vaccinate people, and we are also organizing our own experts because we were surprised by the level of chaos on the national level,” he said.
Trzaskowski then declared that his local government decided to be quicker than the national government throughout the crisis.
The Chief of the PM’s Chancellery Michał Dworczyk responded to Trzaskowski’s claims, noting that Warsaw’s mayor had taken a sick leave immediately at the start of the pandemic.
“Now, he’s taking credit for the achievements and work of others and is telling stories about how much he’s done. This is all untrue. When it comes to fighting the pandemic, we owe the most to the medics,” he said.
Dworczyk also added that “Trzaskowski mentioned how he had to organize vaccination points. Meanwhile, urban vaccination points have not yet started operating in Warsaw and the system organized by the government has already carried out 13 million vaccinations throughout Poland.”
He noted that the National Vaccination Program was more than just a government program — it was the huge collective effort of doctors, nurses and paramedics all of whom are working hard to carry out the program in government vaccination points.
“Mr. Trzaskowski, most likely not knowing that his Atlantic Council panel speech would become widespread, has shown his true colors to all the people who are engaged with the vaccination program. By taking credit for their actions, he is forgetting about the thousands of people who are fighting for the lives of Poles every day,” he said.
Dworczyk also noted that when the government was opening the huge coronavirus field hospital at Warsaw’s national stadium, Trzaskowski was one of the strongest critics of the project and during the pandemic had encouraged people to go outside and join mass protests.