Jealous of Kim, Trump Wants Americans to “Sit Up in Attention” When He Talks Too

The president later tried to walk it back as just a silly joke about dictatorship.

Vague pledges of denuclearization and a disturbing military salute aren’t the only eyebrow-raising results to have emerged from President Donald Trump’s summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un earlier this week.

The high-stakes meeting is apparently now serving as inspiration for Trump, who told Fox News’ Steve Doocy outside the White House Friday morning that he desires the same brand of dictatorial effect Kim has on repressed North Korean citizens. In detailing his envy, Trump described Americans as “my people”—a signal the president may already be attempting to emulate Kim, one of the world’s most notorious dictators.

“He’s the head of a country, and I mean he’s the strong head—don’t let anyone think anything different,” Trump said while floating the possibility that Kim could be invited to the White House soon. “He speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same.”

The statement echoes remarks Trump gave during an interview shortly after the summit concluded, where he commended the “great fervor” Kim strikes among North Koreans. He told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos: “His people, you see the fervor. They have a great fervor.”

Shortly after the Fox News interview aired, Trump tried to brush his statement off as joke. “You don’t understand sarcasm,” he told reporters. The attempt at humor, as the president claimed, would be hard to detect for a president with a disturbing record of praising the world’s dictators and strongmen.

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REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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