Donald Trump cannot seem to say enough nice things about his new pal, Kim Jong Un, a dictator who once had one of his generals executed with an antiaircraft gun for falling asleep in a meeting.
When asked about these executions during an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, he responded:
He’s a tough guy. When you take over a country, a tough country, tough people and you take it over from your father—I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have—if you can do that at 27 years old, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that. So he’s a very smart guy. He’s a great negotiator, but I think we understand each other.
As the New York Times points out, in 2014 the United Nations reported that Kim brutalizes his people with “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” making him one of the worst human rights violators in the world. More than 100,000 people are locked in North Korean prison camps, often without trial, and those perceived to criticize or disrespect Kim have been promptly executed.
To Trump, however, it seems this is not a big deal.
Kim is not the first dictator that Trump has openly admired. He’s got a “great relationship” with Phillippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who has encouraged death squads; Trump also loves Vladimir Putin, whose critics happen to regularly die suspiciously; and calls Egyptian dictator Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, whose police routinely torture people, a “fantastic guy.”
People tend to laugh at Trump’s obsession with dictators, but the fact that he routinely celebrates violent authoritarians sure seems revealing. The president of the United States really likes regimes that can get away with literal murder and crushing the free press. Doesn’t seem too funny to me.