President Donald Trump has, once again, shamelessly expressed support for an authoritarian leader working toward further consolidating his power.
During a meeting with NATO leaders in Brussels, Trump criticized America’s strongest allies, yet he applauded the Turkish president, Recep Erdogan, for having a stronghold over his country’s governmental procedures, CBS News reports.
Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group and a CBS News senior global affairs contributor told “CBS This Morning” about some of the cringe-worthy moments from behind the scenes of the meeting.
Bremmer recounted: "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."
“CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King noted that the gesture with Erdogan was off-putting because “it's a universal sign of 'Way to go, good job.’” Therefore, the fist-bump almost serves as a form of endorsement of Erdogan's authoritarian leadership.
Bremmer agreed with King that Trump’s praising of Erdogan, who has initiated internal purges against critics, would be alarming to other European leaders.
“Turkey is hardly a liberal democracy at this point," he said.
In addition to his endearing moment with Erdogan, Trump further fueled suspicions about his questionable friendship with Russian president Vladimir Putin. On Monday, before beginning their private meeting together, Putin and Trump held a press briefing during which Trump predicted that the United States and Russia will “end up having an extraordinary relationship.”
"We have discussions on everything from trade to military, to missiles, to nuclear, to China. We'll be talking a little bit about China, our mutual friend President Xi," Trump said. "We have great opportunities together as two countries that frankly we have not been getting along very well for the last number of years.”
On the other hand, Trump previously referred to the European Union as a “foe.” From the looks of it, Trump is deliberately pushing our allies away in an effort to replace them with our adversaries, most of which are dictators and authoritarians who rule their countries with an iron fist.
Trump is using his words and his actions to show us that his ulterior motive as president is to do away with democracy as we know it once and for all.