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President Donald Trump astonished US officials at the G7 summit in France when he jokingly referred to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi as “my favorite dictator.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news, Trump made the comments while waiting to meet with the Egyptian president. He searched over a gathering of Egyptian and US officials and loudly called out: “Where’s my favorite dictator?”
The Journal reported that Trump’s question was met with a shocked silence. It was unclear whether el-Sisi heard the remarks.
The White House declined Insider’s request for comment.
Trump’s comments cast attention on his coziness with authoritarian leaders overseas. Others he has lavished praise on include Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.