Egypt’s general-turned-strongman, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, was the first foreign leader to call Donald Trump and congratulate him on his surprising election as president of the United States. Read into that what you will.
Back in September, Trump met with el-Sisi in New York during the United Nations General Assembly and didn’t bring up Egypt’s grim human rights record in the three-plus years that el-Sisi has been in power. In her own meeting with Egypt’s president, Hillary Clinton did. Under el-Sisi, tens of thousands of political dissidents and regime opponents have been thrown in Egyptian jails. According to the Trump campaign’s readout of that September meeting, the now president-elect instead said the U.S. “will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally.”
Later, in a television interview, Trump called el-Sisi a “fantastic guy” who “took control of Egypt. And he really took control of it.” El-Sisi seized power in a military coup in 2013 and was elected president in a tightly controlled vote the next year.