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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Sessions Likens Trump to Trump's Favorite Dictator

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's approach to governing

Trump has always liked dictators.

Jeff Sessions recently lost his comeback primary.  Trump attacked him and endorsed his opponent.  Before this most recent humiliation, Sessions explained why some Christians back Trump.

Elaina Plott at NYT Magazine:
Sessions referred back to an earlier moment in the conversation, when I asked him how he considered his support of Trump from the standpoint of his faith as an evangelical Christian. “You asked how Christians could support Trump,” he said. Consider Egypt’s Christian minority under president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, he said: “It’s not a democracy — he’s a strongman, tough man, but he promised to protect them. And they believed him, because they didn’t want the Muslim Brotherhood taking over Egypt. Because they knew they’d be vulnerable. They chose to support somebody that would protect them. And that’s basically what the Christians in the United States did. They felt they were under attack, and the strong guy promised to defend them. And he has.”

From 2019:

 Nancy A. Youssef, Vivian Salama and Michael C. Bender at WSJ:
Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi.
“Where’s my favorite dictator?” Mr. Trump called out in a voice loud enough to be heard by the small gathering of American and Egyptian officials. Several people who were in the room at the time said they heard the question.

The witnesses said they believed the president made the comment jokingly, but said his question was met by a stunned silence.
It couldn’t be determined whether Mr. Sisi was present or heard the remark.
The White House declined to comment. Egyptian officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
Even if lighthearted, Mr. Trump’s quip drew attention to an uncomfortable facet of the U.S.-Egypt relationship.