President-elect Donald Trump has already won fans abroad since his surprise election victory. Foreign dictators and autocratic leaders across the world have expressed delight with Trump’s election and Trump himself seems to be embracing their support.
Trump reportedly spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin twice by phone since becoming president-elect. Trump praised Putin’s leadership during his campaign and questioned whether Russia was responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee. Putin is know to want Trump as president because Trump’s criticism of NATO would serve Putin’s foreign agenda.
Trump’s election has also been welcomed by by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Trump spoke to Orbán and reportedly told him he was ‘a big fan of Hungary’. Under Orbán’s leadership, Hungary has cracked down on media freedom, reformed the justice system to favor his own right-wing party and attacked refugees and ethnic minorities.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan defended Trump from claims that there were electoral irregularities in some swing states. Erdoğan said that American democracy should be respected. Erdoğan has questionable democratic credentials and his crackdown on his regime’s critics since a failed coup have raised serious concerns about the authoritarian direction of the country.
Trump’s embrace by authoritarian rulers in Russia, Hungary and Turkey is a worrying trend. Many hard right parties in Europe have been emboldened by Trump’s victory, including the xenophobic Front National in France, which could potentially win next year’s presidential election.