CNN host Anderson Cooper has branded President Donald Trump “dictator curious” over his apparent affinity for authoritarian leaders, following the recent G20 meeting in Osaka, Japan.
Trump spent his time in Japan cozying up with leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Chinese President Xi Jinping, all of whom have been widely condemned in western democratic circles for a variety of human rights abuses, war crimes and corruption accusations.
And after the meeting, he took an impromptu trip to the border of North and South Korea, where he met dictator Kim Jong Un and became the first U.S. president to set foot in North Korea, lauding his relationship with the young strongman.
Cooper’s segment, titled “There’s something about a dictator,” detailed the president’s rapport with the world’s most controversial leaders. This is especially concerning given the disdain he so often shows for the democratically elected leaders of America’s traditional allies.
“More evidence from the G20 trip he’s happier talking to tyrants than heads of state like himself,” Cooper told his audience. “Hard-headed diplomacy often requires dealing with less than savory characters, even outright thugs,” the host said. “And if that were what the president has been doing, it would still be controversial but it would also be for a good purpose or even a definable purpose.”
“Instead, though, his critics—and they span the spectrum—worry this president has turned what used to be a diplomatic necessity for advancing the interests of the United States and democracies into something else,” Cooper continued.
In a chummy meeting with Putin, Trump avoided friction with his Russian counterpart, bonding with Putin over their shared dislike of the free press and even making a joke about Russian interference in U.S. elections.
“There is just something that meeting with Putin that does it to him that makes him giddy and dictator curious,” Cooper continued. “The same for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—MBS—whom the CIA believes authorized the murder and dismemberment of the Washington-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”
“He gets along with Mohammad just fine, and Kim, and Vlad. As for Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Shinzo Abe, well, they aren’t accused killers, and it seems in the president’s eyes, that means they don’t have the right stuff.”