This admiration of autocrats was not limited to leaders shaped by communism, however. Trump heaped praise on President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines for a bloody drug war scarred by extrajudicial killings. And while international organizations were condemning Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan for human rights abuses, Trump gave the tyrant “high marks” and said it was “a great honor” to meet him.
Trump’s embrace of tyrants, coupled with his contempt for democratically elected allies, has sent the United States’ standing across the world to record lows. But the most damning legacy of Trump’s first year is simply that he has ruled as an unrepentant racist who provided comfort to white supremacists after Charlottesville, attacked black athletes to score cheap political points and fought furiously to close America’s doors to anyone who doesn’t think, look or pray like his most avid supporters.
The damage done by that cruel legacy will be lasting.