| November 12, 2019 02:39 PM
Emphasizing his “America First” foreign policy, President Trump said he is willing to meet with any foreign leader if it helps the country.
Trump made the remarks during a Tuesday speech at the New York Economic Club and said that how leaders rule their own countries doesn’t have a bearing on meetings with him.
“When I meet with the leaders of countries as they come in — kings, and queens and prime ministers, and presidents and dictators — I meet them all,” Trump said to laughter from the audience.
“Anybody wants to come in,” he continued. “Dictators, it’s OK. Come on in. Whatever’s good for the United States. We want to help our people.”
The comments come a day before Trump is set to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been criticized for his authoritarian tendencies. During his last visit to the White House, Erdoğan watched as his guards broke through a police line and beat activists.
Following a failed coup in 2016, the Turkish leader jailed hundreds who opposed him, including professors, and arrested more than 100 journalists. He also used the opportunity to push through a referendum expanding his powers.
In addition, Trump has faced criticism for his praise of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and for his reaction to the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of a Saudi kill team assembled by an adviser to the crown prince.