On Friday, after attacking America’s allies at the G7 summit, President Trump praised how North Koreans treat Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and said, with 100 percent deadpan delivery, he’d like Americans to lionize him in the same way. “He speaks, and his people sit up at attention,” our president said about a despot known for murdering his own family and torturing political prisoners. “I want my people to do the same.”
Wow—you’d suspect this guy has a real deep affection for dictators. What is it about their absolute power and authority that compels him so much?
Except that Trump was totally kidding! Reporters rightly pointed out that Kim is a fascist dictator whose citizens live under constant fear of death, internment and starvation, and that their veneration of their leader might be less than genuine. In response, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders quickly clarified, “The president was clearly joking with his comments.”
Phew. What a funny pattern: The president keeps making these knee-slappers about how much he yearns for an authoritarian regime—all the while attacking our free press and enforcing sadistic border policies while his fellow Republicans work to prevent people of color from voting. You’d think there’d be a word for that, if he were serious.
What else has the comedian-in-chief said lately?
In May, it’s revealed Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to lift an investigation into Trump’s disgraced former security council Michael Flynn, possible grounds for obstruction of justice. Republican Congressman James Comer, however, says Trump was merely joking.
Being ‘President for Life’
In March, Trump recounted a private conversation about Chinese President Xi Jinping no longer facing term limits: “I said, ‘President for life. That sounds good. Maybe we are going to have to try it.’”
“But I’m joking. I’m joking about being president for life,” he later clarifies.
Callin’ People Who Don’t Applaud Him ‘Treasonous’
After the State of the Union in February, Trump calls Democrats “treasonous” for not standing when he announced low unemployment rates among blacks and Hispanics. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley subsequently calls the comments “tongue-in-cheek.”
Thanking Dictators for Expelling American Diplomats
After Russian President Vladimir Putin expels hundreds of American diplomats from the country last August, Trump thanks him. “He was being sarcastic,” Sanders says later.
Defending Police Brutality
In July, Trump jokes about police not protecting arrestees when loading them into the back of squad cars, and insinuates police brutality rules are too strict. “I believe he was making a joke at the time,” Sanders says.
Threatening His Opponents With Violence
A year or so earlier, Trump not-so-subtly proclaims “Second Amendment people” are the only ones who can stop Hillary Clinton (then his opponent in the presidential race) from revoking gun rights, seemingly suggesting they shoot her. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan calls it “a joke gone bad.”
Accusing His Predecessor of Being a Terrorist
When just a presidential hopeful, Trump repeatedly says Barack Obama founded the terrorist group ISIS. Trump later tweets:
Meddling With Elections
In July 2016, during the heart of his election campaign, Trump calls on Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s email account. “Obviously I was being sarcastic and a lot of people really smiled and laughed. It was said in a sarcastic manner, obviously,” he later tells Fox News.