Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday May 3, 2017
Donald Trump’s willingness to meet the world’s strongmen
US President Donald Trump said on Monday he’d be “honored” to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, clarifying he meant “under the right circumstances.”
That came just 48 hours after he invited Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte to the White House, surprising the State Department and breaking with long-held tradition. Duterte has since said he might be too busy for any visit to Washington soon.
These are just the two latest signs of Trump’s openness to, or perhaps fascination with, the world’s strongmen.
The Trump administration has adopted a harder line with Pyongyang as tensions between the two countries have continued to escalate in recent weeks. Despite this, the President expressed admiration for how Kim Jong Un handled ascending to power at such a young age in an interview with Reuters on April 28.
On Monday, he said to Bloomberg News: “If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it. If it’s under the, again, under the right circumstances. But I would do that.”
Trump appeared to offer his seal of approval for Erdogan’s ambitions to replace Turkey’s current system of parliamentary democracy with an all-powerful executive presidency in a congratulatory phone conversation shortly after the Turkish referendum.
Long before he took office, Trump was fawning over the Russian leader.
“I’ve always had a good instinct about Putin,” Trump said in December 2015 interview with Iowa radio host Conway, years before the two would meet.
since assuming the presidency, Trump has tweeted Putin’s criticism of Hillary Clinton and chastised her for speaking badly of him. He even went as far as defending the Russian leader to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, who called Putin a killer in an interview.
“There are a lot of killers,” Trump said on February 6, 2017. “Do you think our country is so innocent? Do you think our country is so innocent?” (Source: CNN)