The White House insists that former aide to the Trump campaign, George Papadopoulos, was merely a volunteer, but this is not how the Greek Americans viewed his role.
In his visit to Greece at the beginning of December 2016; a month before the inauguration of president Trump, Papadopoulos was speaking to Greek politicians and the Greek media introducing himself as part of the “incoming team” and an advisor to the newly-elected president.
On December 1, 2016, Papadopoulos was invited to speak at the annual conference of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE). His presence and brief address was touted as coming from an advisor to president-elect Trump.
Papadopoulos said that the US “looks forward to a close relationship with Greece and the Greek people”, and noted that the two countries “were, are and will remain friends and allies.”
He personally thanked the president of KEDE, Giorgos Patoulis, whom he described as a good friend.
A few months later, Giorgos Patoulis, was among the guests at the annual White House reception in honor of Greek Independence Day.
On December 4, speaking to local Greek TV stations in Northern Greece, Papadopoulos was reluctant to discuss details of the US policy towards Greece, Turkey and the Balkans saying that “as a representative of the president-elect” he was not yet in position to discuss policy details.
“We are a new administration, we are not yet in the White House, and we have not formed our final policy on the issue”, Papadopoulos said.
He added that “our [foreign-affairs] team is ready and what we are doing now is listening and discussing in order to form our policy when we get back to Washington”.
Papadopoulos also commented on a telephone conversation between Trump and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in late November 2016, when Tsipras called to congratulate Trump for his victory.
The Greek-American expressed his wish to see the US president visiting Greece in the near future while he predicted a visit of the Greek PM to the White House; Greek PM Tsipras met President Trump on October 17.
“As as an advisor to the president I am here to show that President Trump and his administration views Greece as a friend and this will not change in the future,” Papadopoulos said on December 4, 2016.
Watch George Papadopoulos’ interview in Greek with English subtitles.