Donald Trump claims he has to meet with "presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens – I don’t know, somehow I don’t see it [referring to wearing a face mask] for myself." Besides the safe claim that Kim Jong-un of North Korea is a dictator, which other dictators has Trump met with during his tenure as President?

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    Why do you think the statement is referring to specific individuals? Phrasing it like this means he isn't calling any particular person a dictator, so if anyone he's met complains he can just say "of course I didn't mean you're a dictator." – cpast Apr 4 '20 at 21:09
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    This is calling for speculation. How are we supposed to know of whom Trump was thinking right in that moment when he blurted out that? – Fizz Apr 4 '20 at 21:33
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    I think the edited question is valid and answerable, excluding obvious quibbles about the definition of a 'dictator'. – CDJB Apr 4 '20 at 21:56
  • Apart from William Henry Harrison, have there been any US presidents who haven’t met with dictators? – Andrew Grimm Apr 5 '20 at 6:05

It is quite hard to determine if the leader of a country can be classified as a dictator, so I've decided to define one as the ruler of a country classified by Freedom House's 2018 report as "Not Free".

Trump has met publicly and personally with the leaders of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Egypt, Iraq, Khazakhstan, Libya, North Korea, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (as recognised by the US, not the current de facto President) and Vietnam.

As far as I can tell, he has not met with the leaders of Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, CAR, Chad, DRC, Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Iran, Mauritania, Oman, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland (eSwatini), Syria, Turkmenistan, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.

Obviously at international summits it is highly likely that Trump will have met with some of these leaders behind the scenes, but it is impossible for me to speculate about private meetings.

  • Well researched. However I think that being a dictator relates to "a ruler with total power over a country", rather than success implementing the ideals of democracy. Lets take Afghanistan for example, are you saying that Ashraf Ghani obtained or is is holding power by force? – Burt_Harris Jul 29 '20 at 2:26
  • Ghani faces serious power struggles with the Taliban, so he lacks total power. And compared to that opposition, Ghani represents a republican form governance (by a constitution) as opposed to a despotic one. – Burt_Harris Jul 29 '20 at 2:34

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