(CNN)"Equating brutality and despotism with leadership is not an American value," CNN's Jake Tapper said on Monday in response to President Donald Trump's pattern of expressing admiration for authoritarian leaders.
Tapper: Equating despotism with leadership is not an American value
Tapper's comments come after a weekend of controversial statements by Trump, who called North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a "pretty smart cookie" during a CBS "Face the Nation" interview on Sunday, and said in an interview with Bloomberg News the next day he would be "honored" to meet with him.
"Kim Jong Un had his uncle murdered." Tapper said on "The Lead."
"That doesn't make Kim Jong Un a smart cookie -- that makes him a murderer."
As Tapper noted, Kim is not the only "brutal dictator" or despot Trump reached out to over the weekend. The President also had a "very friendly conversation" with the president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, and invited him to the White House.
The Philippines' leader and his regime have been accused of engaging in crimes against humanity, including extrajudicial killings of at least 7,000 of his own people, according to Amnesty International. Duterte bragged about personally committing some of those murders himself, and has stated that some journalists should be assassinated.
Trump also recently called Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan to congratulate him on winning a referendum that greatly extends his presidential powers -- a "power grab," as Tapper called it.
"He has kind words for Vladimir Putin, the Chinese despots who perpetrated the Tiananmen Square massacre," Tapper recalled. "He said that Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi were bad guys, but Iraq and Libya were in better shape during their despotic regimes."
Tapper also shone a light on Trump's statements, saying we have to take on "archaic" Senate rules, and his chief of staff's admission that the White House has spent time looking at ways to change libel laws, calling it a "desire to change the constitutional systems we have in place to protect the nation from any theoretical would-be dictators"
"James Madison be damned," he mused.