Donald Trump’s three favorite world leaders are Xi Jinping of China, Recep Erdogan of Turkey, and Vladimir Putin of Russia — all three men who meet the textbook definition of a dictator. What’s more, he is unable to get along with democratically-elected leaders — especially women — and expects foreign governments to stifle protest against him when he visits, New York Magazine is reporting.
Who Are The Three Leaders Trump Admires Most?
According to an unnamed White House insider, the 45th president is fond of the leaders of China, Turkey, and Russia. What you may have already surmised about those three men is that all three use their positions of power to stifle dissent with a heavy hand.
Jinping (China) and Putin (Russia) can be, if not necessarily “forgiven,” at least “understood” in the context of their own countries. China has been a Communist dictatorship since long before this writer was born, and Russia had a mere 15 years or so of “freedom” before Putin began putting the country back on the road to Soviet Union-Style dictatorship.
Not so with Erdogan. Turkey was at least somewhat “free” before him, with democratic elections, something resembling freedom of speech, and all of the trappings of a modern, free democracy. Erdogan is having none of that. As HuffPost reports, Erdogan has turned the once-free country into his own dictatorship, stifling dissent, jailing political opponents, and using bogus threats from non-existent boogeymen as a means of giving himself absolute power.
A Fondness For Dictatorial Tactics
Trump has made it clear what he thinks of political dissent. Back in 2016, as National Review reported at the time, Trump was asked about the 1989 protests at China’s Tiananmen Square. You may remember that the Chinese government used tanks and artillery to put down a protest, gunning down protesters and killing somewhere between 180 and over 10,000 civilians (estimates vary wildly).
Regardless of the number of dead civilians, Trump believes the protests were a “riot” and that the Chinese government did the right thing in violently putting them down.
“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak.”
Trump has, of course, been met with protests of his own. And although whether he wanted to put down the recent Women’s March with violence is not clear, what is clear is that he would have been stifled by such inconveniences as Due Process and the First Amendment — at least, while we still have them.
— Donna Marie London (@DonnaMarie_DML) January 21, 2018
Stymied by the Constitution, Trump merely did what Trump does best: he made it all about him instead.
Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018
He Can’t Stifle Dissent Here, So He Tries To Stifle It Elsewhere
Completely unable to understand or accept the fact that he’s unpopular, Trump has famously told U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May that he won’t make any state visits there unless May can guarantee him a “warm welcome.” How Trump expects May to accomplish that is unclear, since the U.K., like the U.S., treasures freedom of speech and welcomes political dissent. And Trump is wildly unpopular in the U.K., meaning that he would almost certainly be met there with wide-scale protests.
However, in Saudi Arabia, he was welcomed with open arms, and indeed he considers his state visit to the country as one of the highlights of his first year in office. According to Trump apologist and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, Trump was given a hero’s welcome in Saudi Arabia.
“There was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.”
Of course, what Ross failed to mention is that political dissent is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, with one dissident having been sentenced to crucifixion for defying the government.
Inability To Get Along With Democratically-Elected, Female Heads Of State
Speaking of May, White House observers have noticed something that has come up in his visits with her and with Germany’s Angela Merkel: he can’t seem to get along with them.
“[May] finds it almost impossible to make headway and get her points across. Trump totally dominates the discussion, leaving the prime minister with five or ten seconds to speak before he interrupts and launches into another monologue.”
Similarly, Trump is unable to abide simply being in the same room with Angela Merkel. As the Washington Post reports, Trump famously refused to shake hands with Merkel and wore a “dour” expression the entire time he was with her.
Trump may or may not have designs on turning the U.S. into an oppressive dictatorship which jails and tortures dissidents and puts down protests with violence. And if he is, the Constitution is, for now, there to prevent it.
But Trump’s fondness for dictators and his unwillingness to abide democratically-elected, female heads of state who tolerate dissent and won’t give him what he wants certainly doesn’t paint a good image of the 45th president.