Trump admired dictators’ ability to ‘kill anyone’ they wanted: former White House press secretary
Stephanie Grisham has stepped down as White House press secretary, but she was barely visible, with President Donald Trump largely managing his own media machine (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Donald Trump was hardly the first U.S. president to ally himself with despots, tyrants and strongmen, but he was uniquely bad in that he had such obvious admiration for them. When Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon allied themselves with Spain’s fascist dictator Francisco Franco during the Cold War, it wasn’t because they admired him, but because they viewed him as the lesser of the evils and reasoned that at least El Generalíssimo kept Soviet troops out of the streets of Madrid.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt reportedly said of Nicaraguan strongman Anastasio Somoza, Sr., “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Trump, in contrast, flat-out admired and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other foes of democracy.

Trump’s affinity for despots is the focus of a scathing March 8 column by Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin, who notes that Trump praised everyone from Putin and Erdogan to “sadistic strongman Rodrigo Duterte” (president of the Philippines).

“Just why is Trump so fond of these legitimately terrible people?” Levin writes. “The long answer would probably require numerous dissertation-length analyses by leading psychiatrists, with possibly, many chapters on Fred Trump. But the short answer is that he quite clearly wishes he could get away with everything they have. No need to go to the trouble of trying to overturn free and fair elections when the elections have already been decided. And dissent? Not an issue for these guys!”

Levin notes that when former White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham made a Tuesday, March 8 appearance on ABC’s “The View,” she had a lot to say about Trump’s admiration for tyrants.

Grisham told “The View’s” co-hosts, “I think (Trump) feared (Putin). I think he was afraid of him. I think that the man intimidated him. Because Putin is a scary man, just frankly, I think he was afraid of him. I also think he admired him, greatly. I think he wanted to be able to kill whoever spoke out against him. So, I think it was a lot of that. In my experience with him, he loved the dictators; he loved the people who could kill anyone, including the press.”

BREAKING: Stephanie Grisham, Trump's Press Secretary says Trump feared Putin. She also adds that Trump admired Putin for just being able to kill journalists or whoever. Dictator-loving Trump wanted to do the same. \n#TheViewpic.twitter.com/sPtATGXMr7
— The Chat \uea00 (@The Chat \uea00) 1646756247

Grisham went on to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine, praising President Volodymyr Zelenskyy as courageous. The former White House press secretary said, “Just in watching all of this with Zelenskyy, Donald Trump would be 57 feet below ground hiding. And Zelensky has been out there fighting for his country.”