Donald Trump Says He wants to Be Like Kim Jong Un and Have His People 'Sit Up in Attention' When He Speaks

President Donald Trump said Friday that he wanted "my people" to "sit up in attention" when he speaks in the same way that North Koreans do for their Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un. The comments, which were made in an impromptu interview with Fox & Friends on the White House lawn, came days after he became the first United States president to meet with a North Korean leader.

Following the summit in Singapore, Trump lavished praise on Kim, despite the fact that he has overseen a regime that is said to "entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape" and more and has been called one of the world's worst abusers of human rights.

Still, Trump doubled down on his respect for Kim on Friday when asked why he has not challenged the leader on his country's human rights abuses.

"He's the head of the country," he said. "I mean he's the strong head, don't let anyone think anything different. "He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same."

WOW -- Trump says he wants American people to treat him like North Koreans treat totalitarian dictator Kim Jong Un.

"Hey, he's the head of a country, and he's the strong head -- he speaks and his people sit up at attention. I want my people to do the same."

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 15, 2018

Later, in a huddle with other reporters, Trump, when questioned about his comments, said: "I'm kidding, you don't understand sarcasm."

It is also unclear whether Trump was referring to the American public or his staff. When he said "my people," he pointed behind him to the White House. Either way, the comment is likely to be seen as problematic. As well as reportedly committing atrocities against his own people in order to maintain his regime, Kim is also believed to have ordered the killings of members of his inner circle.

kim jong un, donald trump
President Donald Trump (R) holds out his hand for a handshake with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) as they meet at the start of their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The deputy premier for education was killed by firing squad in 2016 for showing "disrespectful posture" in a meeting. Kim has also ordered the execution of his uncle via antiaircraft machine guns. The leader's own brother was killed last year by a chemical warfare agent at an airport in Malaysia, with the U.S. sating that there was evidence that Kim was behind the attack.

Trump has repeatedly rallied against leaks from within his own administration and has overseen a record level of staff turnover in his early months in the White House.

Challenged further Friday about why he has spoken about Kim in such positive terms, Trump told a reporter: "You know why, because I don't want to see a nuclear weapon destroy you and your family. "I want to have a good relationship with North Korea."