Trump Continues His Obsequious Praise For A Bloody Dictator

Donald Trump said he wishes people would 'sit up and pay attention' to him the way they do in North Korea when Kim Jong Un speaks.

In an interview on Fox & Friends this morning, President Trump suggested that he’d like to be treated the way North Koreans treat Kim Jong Un:

President Donald Trump said Friday that he wants “my people” to “sit up at attention” the way North Koreans do for dictator Kim Jong Un.

The comment came during an impromptu interview with Fox News on the White House’s North Lawn, days after Trump met with Kim in Singapore as part of an effort to reach a denuclearization deal with Pyongyang. When asked about whether Kim would be visiting the White House any time soon, Trump responded “it could happen.” He then went on to praise the dictator for being a strong leader.

“He’s the head of a country and I mean he is the strong head,” Trump said to Fox. “Don’t let anyone think anything different. He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

When later asked by another reporter to expand on the remark, Trump said he was “kidding.”

“You don’t understand sarcasm,” he added.

It’s not clear if Trump was referring to his staff or to a broader set of Americans when he referred to “my people.”

Here’s the video of Trump’s comment on Fox & Friends:

And here’s the video of his talk to reporters after that interview when he claims he was just “kidding;”

Whether Trump was kidding or not, and whether he was referring to his White House Staff or the American people when he said that he wished that his “people” would sit up at attention when he speaks is something I’ll leave to the reader to judge. However, one must take into account the fact that Trump has been exceedingly obsequious in his praise for Kim Jong Un ever since the Singapore Summit and that he has essentially dismissed questions about the Kim regime’s atrocious human rights record, which has included imprisoning dissidents, killing people accused of crimes against the state, and denying even basic freedoms to the people of the DPRK for the past seven decades. Additionally, footage of his meeting with Kim Jong Un showed Trump returning the salute of a North Korean General who has been at the top of the leadership, and thus no doubt responsible for numerous human rights abuses himself.

In other interviews in the wake of the summit, the President referred to Kim as a funny guy who “loves his people.” This is the same person who stands at the top of a regime that has held the North Korean people in bondage for the past seventy-three years, has locked dissidents into concentration camps, and has executed people on a whim, including members of his own family. When he was specifically reminded of the crimes against humanity that Kim has committed, the President said that Kim was “tough” and “smart” and essentially dismissed the fact that he had shaken hands with a man who has the blood of millions on his hands, including the blood of Otto Warmbier, whose torture-induced death he bizarrely claimed led to his Photo Op Summit. While this is consistent with Trump’s admiration for other dictators such as President al-Sisi in Egypt, the Saud family in Saudi Arabia, President Rodrigo Dueterte of The Philippines, Xi Jinping, and, of course, Vladimir Putin, it is nonetheless absolutely sickening to see a President of the United States so dismissive of human rights abuses and the reality of dictatorship. For Donald Trump, though, it’s just another day at the office.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, National Security, North Korea, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. Scott says:

    Trump believes that there is a moral equivalence between the US, North Korea, Russia, China, Turkey and who knows who else. What he really believes is that there is a moral equivalence between him, Kim, Putin, Xi, Erdogen and others of that ilk.

    Why shouldn’t we take him seriously?

  2. CSK says:

    Well, if Wilbur Ross dozes off during a cabinet meeting, Trump can have him shot with anti-aircraft guns. Or atomized by a mortar round. That should get the point across.

  3. EddieInCA says:

    I shouldn’t be, but I am still surprised at how many GOP voters will, literally, excuse ANY behavior by Trump, no matter how much it goes against their previous “principles”.

    While I disagree with them vehemently, I do respect Bill Kristol, Max Boot, Charlie Sikes, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and others who have held on to their principles and refuse to join Trump Team.

  4. Kathy says:

    I’m still grateful for Dennison’s incompetence. Right now that’s the only check there is on him.

  5. Monala says:

    From a February 28, 2016 National Review article, titled, “Trump Isn’t Upset by the Obama Era, He’s Always Been a Wannabe Mussolini”:

    An interview that Trump gave to Playboy in 1990 has just come to my attention. If I’m the last to know about it, forgive me. Trump was asked about Gorbachev — who was nearing the end of his time in power. Trump said, “Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.” His interviewer asked, “You mean firm hand as in China?” Trump answered, “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 … as being spit on by the rest of the world –”

    Forget for a moment how disgraceful it is to hear an American talking like this, and note how eerily familiar Trump’s language is here. To hear Trump tell it in 2016, he has been pushed over the edge by Barack Obama’s weakness on the world stage. ….

    Because we have gone through a long period of war and a terrible recession, this sort of talk appeals to many. And understandably. And yet it turns out that Trump isn’t talking this way because he has diagnosed a recent problem with American life; he is talking this way because this is how he talks. That Playboy interview, you will note, was published in 1990. Back when the country was riding high after the Reagan years. Back when the American military was capable of kicking Iraq out of Kuwait with no problems at all. Back when the Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse. This isn’t about Obama. This isn’t about the Republican Congress. This isn’t about the recession. It’s about Trump’s being little more than a third-rate, wannabe strongman — a man with one hammer and one nail. Trump doesn’t praise Vladimir Putin because he thinks America is going through a weak period! He praises Vladimir Putin because that’s what he thinks leadership is.

  6. CSK says:


    Of course that’s what Trump thinks leadership is. It’s the way he’s always run his sleazy enterprise: by bullying his underlings, except for Ivanka, and that’s only because he lusts after her, by his own admission. Remember when he said what pleasure he took in suing writers who didn’t depict him as the Godlike being he feels he is? “It costs me a few dollars and bankrupts them.” Remember how he drove that elderly lady in Atlantic City out of her house?

    The only reason Trump will never become another Putin, Kim, Duterte, or Erdogan is that beneath the bluster, he’s a sniveling, pusillanimous little chickensh!t coward.

    Good article, by the way.

  7. Barry says:

    @EddieInCA: “While I disagree with them vehemently, I do respect Bill Kristol, Max Boot, Charlie Sikes, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and others who have held on to their principles and refuse to join Trump Team.”

    IIRC, neither of the last two have yet cast a vote against him. They’re just smack-talkers.

  8. Gustopher says:

    @Barry: I won’t respect any Republicans in Congress until they start using their oversight and confirmation power to reign in at least some of the corruption.

    I can entertain the notion that someone wants to gut the EPA’s regulatory ability to promote jobs. I cannot entertain the notion that someone thinks what Scott Pruitt is doing is at all ok. This one is easy, and the only reason not to take a hard stand against it is pure political cronyism.

  9. teve tory says:

    @Gustopher: Trump’s ignorance, meanness, bellicosity, racism, and self-absorption have captured the hearts and minds of the republican voters. Republican politicians are afraid to act against him lest they be cast into the RINO darkness.

  10. CSK says:

    @teve tory:

    Granted, it’s Breitbart that’s “reporting” this, but “Rep Steve King (R-IA) told Breitbart News earlier this evening that House Republicans are considering forcibly removing House Speaker Paul Ryan from the speakership…over Ryan’s efforts to undermine President Donald Trump’ s agenda.”

  11. Mister Bluster says:

    “He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”
    Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Trump

    It’s clear to me that he is talking about all American Citizens.

  12. teve tory says:

    @CSK: I hope they do it. I want the entire GOP to handcuff themselves to Trump and swallow the key.

  13. de stijl says:

    A decent political messaging shop would make bank on this. This and Trump saluting the NoKo general.

  14. teve tory says:


    Michael Tackett

    Verified account


    “But when Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, retweeted a Nazi sympathizer this week, the House Republican leadership and his fellow Iowa Republicans on Capitol Hill were silent.” ⁦@SherylNYT⁩

    4:29 PM – 15 Jun 2018

  15. Slugger says:

    North Korea is somewhere around 95th to 100th in national economic power in the world. Imagine you are an opportunistic dictator of a nation with a bigger economy than NoKorea. Would these recent events increase or decrease your development of nuclear weapons?

  16. CSK says:

    @teve tory:

    King’s excuse is that he claims not to know who the guy is.

  17. Daryl says:

    From 50,000 feet…
    A President who spends :45 minutes on the WH driveway lying to the American people.
    Policy that takes children from their parents.
    Allowing an attack from Russia to go unchecked, while it continues into the ‘18 mid-terms.
    An incredible number of the Presidents circle pleading guilty or indicted.
    Millions about to be tossed off their insurance.
    Taking steps to allow more pollution.
    Taking steps to make it easier for financial institutions to cheat people. To discriminate.
    Taking steps to make workers less safe.
    From 50,000 feet…this is not America.

  18. teve tory says:

    @CSK: I believe that the same way I believe Paul Ryan has never heard of this ‘Scott Pruitt’ fella.

  19. Liberal Capitalist says:


    From 50,000 feet…this is not America.

    This is not America
    Shala la la la

    A little piece of you
    The little peace in me
    Will die
    For this is not America


    Bowie. Prescient.

  20. george says:


    I shouldn’t be, but I am still surprised at how many GOP voters will, literally, excuse ANY behavior by Trump, no matter how much it goes against their previous “principles”.

    Pretty easy to understand if you follow team sports at all. The ref calls someone on your team for an obvious penalty, and many (if not most) fans will argue that it shouldn’t have been called, the other side got away with it just a few plays ago, it wasn’t really that bad, etc.

    The ref calls someone on the opponent’s team for the same foul, and its a good call, a completely different play than what your guy did, and comparing the two is “whataboutism”.

    Politics is like team sports, except the analysis of team sports tends to be better, possibly because most people played some team sports as kids, but very few people have ever taken part in politics.

    Trump is that pitcher who throws spitballs, the batter using a corked bat, the tackle who facemasks his opponent and so on. And no one cheering for his team is going to care so long as the team is winning.

    Now if we could only convince his fans that the team is America and not a political party, then they’d drop him in a second. But right now things are still becoming more rather than less partisan, so I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.

  21. teve tory says:

    Trump says he gave Kim a direct cell number to him. Security experts say 1) that’s a terrible idea 2) because of his other practices he’s probly already hacked multiple ways anyway.

    DAYS AFTER PRESIDENT Donald Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in Singapore, the president touted the strength of the two leaders’ relationship. “I can now call him,” he told reporters at the White House on Friday. “I gave him a very direct number. He can now call me if he has any difficulty. We have communication.”

    The US and North Korea have an extremely complicated and thorny diplomatic relationship—it wasn’t long ago that Trump casually threatened a nuclear strike—and any gesture of goodwill between the two nations potentially helps better it. But Trump’s claim concerned security experts Friday, who noted that if the president really did give his personal number to Kim Jong Un, he would also have created a major national security exposure in the process.

    “Absolutely that is a problem,” says Karsten Nohl, chief scientist at the German firm Security Research Labs, who researches cell network attacks. Hackers can abuse flaws in the way cellphone networks interoperate to listen in on someone’s phone calls, intercept their text messages, and track their location. If Trump wasn’t careful, he may have given Kim Jong Un an easy and expansive tool for spying on the top tier of the US government. The White House did not return a request for comment.

    “If he were well-advised and listened to that advice, he would probably give out a random phone number that forwards to his phone number, versus a phone number that is really off of the SIM card in his phone,” Nohl says. “As president of the US, he could probably have a list of 1,000 phone numbers, all of which reach his phone.”

    That’s how things are supposed to work. But Trump has a poor track record for maintaining cyberhygiene within the White House. He brought his personal Android phone there when he first began his presidency, and has shown reported reluctance to turn his government-issued smartphones in to the White House IT department for scanning or to be swapped out.

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if everybody has malware on Trump’s smartphones,” says Dave Aitel, a former NSA researcher who now runs the penetration testing firm Immunity.

    Furthermore, a CNN report from late April indicated that Trump has recently increased his personal smartphone use, including for conversations with GOP lawmakers, partly in an effort to circumvent the White House switchboard altogether.

    All told, you have a situation in which the President of the United States uses a likely insecure smartphone, coupled with at least the possibility that he has given the number of that smartphone to the leader of a hostile foreign power that loves to hack. “It’s definitely not the perfect scenario,” Nohl says.

  22. An Interested Party says:

    Ya’all need to just chill out and relax, we got this. MAGA

    Wow, are you that delusional? Well, look who you support, of course you are…

    Trump says he gave Kim a direct cell number to him.

    I wouldn’t doubt if he did the same with other dictators around the world…they are his favorite people…

  23. Mikey says:

    @An Interested Party:

    I wouldn’t doubt if he did the same with other dictators around the world…they are his favorite people…

    Donald dreams of dictators

  24. TM01 says:

    I suppose he could just go back to calling him names and thereby bringing us CLOSER AND CLOSER TO NUCLEAR WAR EVERY DAY OMG!

    I mean, you complained about that too.

    And now that he’s being more Diplomatic, that’s bad too.

    Never Trumpers are pathetic.

    Hell, I’m old enough to remember when people praised Presidents for sending pallets full of cash to a nation that hangs people for being gay. And Presidents who posted dramatically in front of images of brutal Cuban murderers.