Trump Says That Dictators Praise His 'Amazing' Performance As President

President Donald Trump bragged to a conservative conference this weekend that foreign leaders—including dictators—are praising his stewardship of the U.S. which is making the country "respected again."

Appearing at the conservative Turning Points USA event in Palm Beach, Florida, on Sunday, the president delivered a characteristically verbose speech in which he lauded his administration's successes.

Trump returned to one of his favored talking points, of how much other countries respect the U.S. During President Barack Obama's tenure, Trump regularly complained that other nations were laughing at the country. He often claims to have reversed the pattern since coming into office.

But Trump also appeared to be celebrating the praise of dictators. The president's critics often point to his apparent affinity for authoritarian leaders, with whom he seems to enjoy better relationships than with democratic leaders of America's traditional allies.

On Sunday, Trump told the crowd, "The truth is, our country is doing better than ever before. We're so respected again."

"Leaders come in from other countries—prime ministers, presidents, kings, queens, dictators, in some cases, they just don't know they're dictators, or our people don't either," he continued.

"But they come in and they say, 'Congratulations. What you've done is amazing.' They're talking about all of us. And you know what? It is."

It is not clear which leaders and dictators Trump was talking about. Newsweek has contacted the White House by email to request clarification.

Trump regularly tells his reporters that under his leadership, the U.S. has become more respected on the world stage.

But his opponents argue the opposite, suggesting that the president's unique brand of pugnacious diplomacy, erratic policy making and transactional world view are all undermining America's reputation abroad.

Earlier this month, for example, Democratic 2020 presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden released a campaign video describing Trump as "a president the world is laughing at."

The video used a clip of world leaders laughing at Trump, including footage of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson apparently mocking him during a reception at the recent NATO leaders meeting in London.

As the footage plays, Biden says. "The world sees Trump for what he is, insincere, ill-informed, corrupt, dangerously incompetent and incapable, in my view, of world leadership." At the end, a graphic appears reading, "We need a leader the world respects."

Trump has consistently struggled to maintain warm relations with America's allies, driven by grievances largely related to trade practices and military spending. He has enjoyed warmer interactions with dictators like Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump has even joked of copying elements of authoritarianism, for example appointing himself president for life like Chinese premier Xi Jinping or trying to muzzle the free press like Putin.

Donald Trump, respect, dictators, Turning Point USA
President Donald Trump is pictured during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida on December 21, 2019. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images/Getty