President Donald Trump made several comments complimenting the “respect” North Korean leader Kim Jong-un commands from his people following their Singapore summit.

“He’s the head of a country. And I mean, he is the strong head,” Trump told Fox News on Friday. “He speaks, and people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

The president later stated he was making a sarcastic joke. Still, he has been giving compliment after compliment to Kim following the summit, where he notably did not address the many human rights abuses occurring in North Korea including starving citizens and executing opponents.

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When asked at the Singapore news conference following the meeting how Trump can comfortably call a murderous dictator “very talented,” Trump said, “Well, he is very talented. Anybody that takes over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and is able to run it tough – I don’t say it was nice, or I don’t say anything about it. He ran it. Very few people at that age, you could take one in 10,000, probably couldn’t do it.”


Although he claims to be joking about his comments on Kim, Trump has a history of praising dictators.

The New York TImes reported last year that Trump praised Filipino President Robert Duterte for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.” Duterte’s methods of solving the problem included gunning down suspects in the street. In 2016, Trump called Egyptian leader Abdel-Fatteh al-Sisi a “fantastic guy” and commended the way he “took control” of Egypt despite the thousands of protesters killed, according to Politico. And, of course, Trump consistently praises and speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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