During a reception at the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, France, at the recent G7 summit, President Donald Trump was looking for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and called out, “Where’s my favorite dictator?” according to the Wall Street Journal, citing several people who were in the room at the time.
According to the witnesses, Trump appeared to be joking, but, the Journal said, “his question was met by a stunned silence.”
It’s true, the president is a fan of dictators and has even hinted at wanting to become one himself, at times half-joking that he will not respect presidential term limits. He has frequently sung the praises of dictators including Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Saudi Prince Muhammed bin Salman.
Egypt’s president has a long record of human rights violations since he came into power by a military coup in 2013 that overthrew former President Mohammed Morsi. And the Trump Administration has done little to condemn Sisi’s actions, including passing constitutional amendments to ensure he can serve multiple terms in office. Trump even hosted Sisi for his first White House visit in 2017.
At a press availability following Trump’s odd remark, he told the media, “We understood each other very well. He’s a very tough man, I will tell you that. But he’s also a good man, and he’s done a fantastic job in Egypt. Not easy.”