Why Egypt’s ruler loves Donald Trump

The Economist reports: Donald Trump’s decision to give up his salary as president was not inspired by similar gestures made by previous American leaders, such as Herbert Hoover and John F. Kennedy. Rather, Mr Trump was “following in the footsteps” of Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the president of Egypt, claimed two Egyptian newspapers. Mr Sisi, after all, is Mr Trump’s “role model”, said an Egyptian television host. He was on top of Mr Trump’s guest-list for the inauguration, reported an Egyptian news website.

Such fake news is easily debunked. Mr Trump promised to forgo his salary before ever meeting Egypt’s strongman. Mr Sisi, who cut his own salary only by half, did not attend the inauguration. But the relationship between the two leaders, who will meet in the White House on April 3rd, has captivated Egypt’s scribes and talking heads. Many of them see Mr Trump’s affection for Mr Sisi as a matter of national pride worth celebrating—and exaggerating.

Take Mr Trump’s phone call to Mr Sisi in January, which the White House described in anodyne terms. Egyptian journalists, by contrast, were ecstatic. Newspapers cited officials who claimed that the call heralded a new era in relations. A TV host, Amr Adib, suggested that Mr Trump was in awe of Mr Sisi’s leadership. “How have you guys survived the past 40 months?” Mr Trump asked Mr Sisi, according to Mr Adib, referring to Egypt’s many problems. [Continue reading…]

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