In an unprecedented move, President Trump has recently come out in praise of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on his condemnation of American democracy. This comes after the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had praised the political system in Russia, noting the “stability” the nation has. Trump, with a strong admiration to autocratic leaders, echoed these sentiments from Orban, but instead of praising Russia’s system, he seemingly outright endorsed the politically fracturing stance of Putin on American democracy.
In speaking to reporters on board Air Force One, Trump said, “[Putin] said very interesting about democracy and our system… Certainly most people would rather have a certain form of security than have democracy.” Even more concerning than the experiences of politicians who have been subjected to close autocratic rule, is the fact that that President Trump, who was elected to serve a democratic country, is sympathizing with authoritarian leaders.
These comments come at a time of growing concerns amongst citizens and government officials that the Trump administration is slowly eroding the fundamental values of democracy. The Trump White House has already seen a shocking increase in executive power within the government, sending a worrying sign that the President himself is trying to create a solidified authoritarian rule.
The comments from President Trump have been met with strong condemnation from both sides of the political divide, with many denouncing the President’s support for autocrats. Senator Bob Menendez, who is a democrat, noted that “our own president has praised Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has subjected his citizens to an authoritarian system”.
This episode further calls into question Donald Trump’s unwavering loyalty to autocratic leaders at a time when the world is struggling with political volatility and deepening divisions. He continues to praise autocrats such as Putin and Orban while openly criticizing American democracy. To do so dangerously undermines the very freedom and liberty that the United States prides itself on as a leader of democracy around the world.