Trump doesn’t just excuse Kim’s butchery. He glorifies him. In September, Trump bragged at a campaign rally that Kim “wrote me beautiful letters” and “we fell in love.” In October, CBS News correspondent Lesley Stahl pressed Trump about that boast. She reminded Trump that Kim “had his half-brother assassinated” and “presides over a cruel kingdom of repression, gulags, starvation … slave labor, public executions. This is a guy you love?” Trump stood by his man. “I get along with him really well,” he told Stahl. “I have a good chemistry with him.”

Over the years, Trump has defended other mass killers: Saddam Hussein of Iraq (“Saddam Hussein throws a little gas. Everyone goes crazy. ‘Oh, he’s using gas!’ ”), Muammar Qaddafi of Libya (“We would be so much better off if Qaddafi were in charge”), and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines (who said he’d be “happy to slaughter” that country’s “3 million drug addicts”). Lately, Trump has extolled Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who’s implicated in the October murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. On Thursday, the New York Times reported additional evidence against the crown prince: A year before the murder, he told an aide that if he couldn’t drag Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, he’d go after him “with a bullet.”