Trump is a role model for bad heads of state.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s increasingly autocratic leader, said Trump represents “permission” from “the highest position in the world.”

To Jair Bolsonaro, the new president of Brazil, the U.S. president is a barrier-breaker — proof that incendiary comments about women or minorities and a history of trafficking in conspiracy theories don’t need to stand in the way of taking power.

When the Nigerian army opened fire on rock-throwing demonstrators last fall, killing as many as 40 people, it defended itself by citing Trump’s threats to do the same at the Mexican border.

When the U.S. Embassy in Cambodia criticized ruler Hun Sen for cracking down on the opposition and the media, the authoritarian leader pointed out that Trump had his back — not the diplomats’.

“Your policy has been changed, but the embassy in Phnom Penh has not changed it yet,” he said, appealing to Trump to rein his embassy in.

And when members of the U.N. Security Council visited Myanmar’s commander in chief in late April to demand explanations for the expulsion of more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims, he used the phrase “fake news” — the only words he spoke in English — no less than a dozen times, according to people present.

He makes us proud.

That is not to say the United States has always had such an enviable record, as Trump himself is fond of pointing out. Napalm attacks on Vietnamese villages, torture at Abu Ghraib prison and coddling of friendly dictators are just a few examples that highlight the gap between American rhetoric and reality.

Not to mention genocide and slavery; very true; but Trump doesn’t get to point that out.

In the Philippines, local courts have proved incapable of mounting any serious challenge to the thousands of extrajudicial killings carried out as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war.

As a former American colony where respect and admiration for the United States still runs deep, the Philippines is particularly susceptible to Washington’s influence. Polls show that Filipinos trust the United States more than any other major country, and about 80 percent of the population believes the United States plays a positive role in the world.

But rather than rein Duterte in, Trump has seemed only to embolden him with his support. Trump has said he and Duterte have “a great relationship.” Duterte has called Trump “a good friend” who “speaks my language.”

“If a full-blown dictatorship is established in the Philippines, to a large degree, Donald Trump helped that,” said Neri Colmenares, a human rights lawyer and activist.

A guy needs friends.

3 Responses to “Exemplary”