President Donald Trump sat down for an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un this week — and the results were just as bizarre as we’ve come to expect from the president, if only more horrifying.
While Baier is one of Fox News’ “news” people, rather than one of its opinion show hosts, his reporting is clearly heavily tilted to the right and tends to cast a favorable light on the president. And yet, there were moments in the interview that seemed to leave even Baier aghast.
Here are seven most ridiculous moments of the interview:
1. Kim’s dictatorial violence is apparently no big deal.
Trump repeatedly defended Kim’s violent and dictatorial regime, despite his insistence on calling gang criminals in the United States “animals.”
When Baier pointed out that Kim does a lot of bad things, Trump said, “Yeah, but so have a lot of other people, done some really bad things. I mean, I could go through a lot of nations where a lot of bad things were done.”
It’s hard to imagine any other American president so brazenly discounting massive and unrelenting human rights abuses. Human Rights Watch calls it “one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world.”
2. He thinks it’s impressive Kim took over from a line of dictators.
The president seems impressed that Kim, like Trump himself, inherited the family business.
“When you take over a country, tough country with tough people, and you take it over from your father, I don’t care who you are, what you are, how much of an advantage you have, if you can do that at 27 years old, I mean, that’s one in 10,000 that could do that,” he said.
This bizarre claim reflects the fact that Trump has sympathy for both dictators and other people who inherit immense amounts of wealth and status from their parents. But it reveals also that he has no idea that hereditary monarchy has been a common form of government throughout human history. It’s much harder to live under an autocratic state than to live at the top of one.
3. Trump would like U.S. soldiers to leave the country “as soon as we can.”
“We have 32,000 soldiers in South Korea. I’d like to get them home,” Trump said. “I would love to get the military out as soon as we can because it costs a lot of money.”
Since having a military presence on the peninsula is one of Kim’s key complaints with the United States, it sets an extraordinarily bad precedent for Trump to begin any negotiations by saying that he wants to pull out of the region. Why would North Korea give up any incentive to give up concessions for something that Trump is clearly eager to do?
4. Trump thinks we should get paid more for having our military in South Korea.
Trump said he would be talking to South Korea about the fact that “we don’t get paid fully for that military” presence in the region.
He talks like this a lot, but the idea that we would operate our alliances like some sort of protection racket and demand full payment for military expenses that the United States engages in to protect its own interests and influence is absurd.
5. He wants to ask Vladimir Putin to leave Ukraine and Syria as a “favor.”
The president repeated his claim that it would be good to have Russian President Vladimir Putin rejoin the G-8, and he gave a bizarre reason for it.
“If Putin were sitting next to me and we were having dinner, I could say, ‘Would you do me a favor? Would you get out of Syria? Would you get out of Ukraine? Just come on,'” Trump said. “I could ask him to do things that are good for the world.”
It’s hard to know what to make of this claim — it’s a child’s vision of diplomacy, and it can’t be taken seriously.
6. Trump thinks the G-7 went great.
Despite the fact that Trump went into the recent G-7 summit in a feud with multiple other member nations, and despite the fact that he refused to sign on to the joint communique of the summit after he left, the president tried to pretend that the summit went smoothly.
“It really wasn’t rocky when I left,” he said. “It was great.”
7. It’s “pretty good” that China’s President Xi is “essentially president for life.”
Speaking of Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump praised his recent move to abolish his own term limits.
“He’s an incredible guy. You know, essentially president for life,” Trump said. “That’s pretty good.”
Historically, the American presidents have said their position on unelected authoritarians is that they are not “good.” Apparently, Trump wants to change that.