- In a speech to the Economic Club in New York on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said dictators should feel free to “come on in” to the country because it’s good for the US to host them.
- Trump was discussing visits held with foreign leaders, including “kings and queens and prime ministers and presidents and dictators,” saying he’d “meet ’em all.”
- Some of Trump’s visits with and praise of dictators have been controversial in the past, including when he called North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un a “friend.”
- CNBC reports that Trump’s comments about dictators seemed to diverge from the text of his written speech. He also noted that foreign leaders “almost always” congratulate him on the US economy right away.
- The White House didn’t clarify whether Trump’s comments on dictators were part of his planned speech, but told Business Insider that Trump “has an obligation to work with all foreign leaders, and speak with them on a variety of topics.”
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President Donald Trump seemingly diverged from his speech to the Economic Club in New York on Tuesday when he took a moment to say dictators are welcome to “come on in” to the US.
CNBC reports that Trump first discussed state visits with foreign leaders including “kings and queens and prime ministers and presidents and dictators,” then said, “Anybody wants to come in. Dictators? It’s OK. Come on in.”
“I meet ’em all,” Trump added. “Whatever’s good for the United States. We want to help our people.”
The White House didn’t clarify to Insider whether the comments were a part of the planned speech, but did say that Trump “has an obligation to work with all foreign leaders, and speak with them on a variety of topics.”
During the speech, which was described as lengthy, Trump emphasized what he characterized as his administration’s strong contributions to the US economy. World leaders are quick to congratulate him on the strength of the country’s economy, he said.
- Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
“But the first thing they say to me, almost always, ‘Congratulations on your economy,'” Trump said, after his comments on dictators entering the US.
The president’s visits with dictators, as well as his praise of them, has proved controversial in the past. He referred to North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un as a “friend” in August, downplaying the extent to which the country was engaging in weapons testing.
Trump has also said that Saddam Hussein “did well” at killing terrorists at a campaign rally. “We would be so much better off,” Trump said, if Muammar Gaddafi was in charge of Libya during the Republican presidential debates. He also retweeted a quote from Benito Mussolini and said it was okay because “it’s a very interesting quote.”
Previous presidents including Barack Obama met with dictators such as Raúl Castro, but Trump has stood out in his occasional praise of specifical dictatorial leaders.
- Read more:
- Giuliani said Trump ‘isn’t fond of dictators’ – here’s every dictator Trump has praised
- Trump calls Kim Jong Un a ‘friend’ while downplaying North Korean weapons testing
- Brian Klaas: Trump’s behaviour is scarily similar to these 3 modern dictators
- Trump’s willingness to listen to dictators has spiraled into a crisis that could upend his presidency