Donald Trump Spent His Sunday Morning Praising a Brutal Dictator

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Martin H. Simon/CNP via ZUMA

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Ah, Sundays in the Trump White House: a time to catch up on sleep, make a pot of coffee, and linger over the morning newspaper (Melania goes for the Travel section; Don reaches for the Sunday Styles).

If only! President Donald Trump spent his Sunday morning in his own unique way, tweeting away about his admiration for the worst people in the world. This time it was North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, whom Trump is scheduled to meet in Vietnam to discuss, as Trump put it, “Denuclearization?” Boasting of his “great relationship” with Kim, Trump called the brutal dictator an asset to his country with a potential for great things:

Conducting diplomacy with dictators is sometimes just part of the job, but Trump is unique in his insistence that the brutal dictators he’s conducting diplomacy with are, in fact, good people. He’s touted his “great relationship” with Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, who is best known for his mass murder of drug users (Trump specifically praised him for his approach to the Drug War).

No dictator has come in for as much incongruous praise as Kim. “He speaks and his people sit up at attention,” Trump said of Kim last year. “I want my people to do the same.” Later that year, describing their correspondence on binational talks, Trump said: “We went back and forth, then we fell in love. He wrote me beautiful letters.” Trump’s admiration, he explained, stemmed from Kim’s ability to consolidate power at such a young age—something Kim was able to do through a campaign of assassinations and terror.

Such praise comes with a cost. As my colleague Dan Spinelli noted, during Trump’s push for a nuclear deal with North Korea—with visions of a Nobel Prize dancing in his head—his administration has swept under the rug the slave camps and forced starvation that Kim’s regime has maintained.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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