President Trump counts Xi Jinping as a "good friend," boasts of his "great relationship" with Rodrigo Duterte, and has an autographed Elton John CD to gift to Kim Jong Un. On Monday, he met one-on-one with Vladimir Putin for more than two hours, after basking in the Russian president's apparent praise for months.
So it may come as no surprise that Trump reportedly counts Turkish President Recep Erdogan among his coterie of authoritarian bros. CBS News' Ian Bremmer reported Monday that at last week's highly contentious NATO summit, where Trump pressed allies to spend more on defense, Trump cited the Turkish strongman as an example of a leader who "does things the right way":
"Trump was very frustrated; he wasn't getting commitments from other leaders to spend more. Many of them said, 'Well, we have to ask our parliaments. We have a process; we can't just tell you we're going to spend more, we have a legal process.' Trump turns around to the Turkish president, Recep Erdogan, and says, 'Except for Erdogan over here. He does things the right way,' and then actually fist-bumps the Turkish president." [Ian Bremmer, via CBS News]
Bremmer noted that Trump's open lauding of Erdogan's methods is just a bit alarming, given his "executive presidency [and] the purges that have gone on internally. Turkey is hardly a liberal democracy at this point." But what's a little authoritarianism among friends?
Watch Bremmer's full report below. Kimberly Alters