Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had high praise for US presidential hopeful Donald Trump after meeting with Hillary Clinton and Trump in New York earlier this week.
He said the there is "no doubt" that Trump would make a strong leader, in an interview that aired on CNN . Sisi simply brushed off Trump's repeated promises to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. if elected president.
"The United States in general conducts very strict security measures for everyone who wishes to visit it, which has been in place for quite a few years," he said in an apparent reference to the proposed Muslim ban.
"It’s also important to know that during election campaigns many statements are made and many things are said, however afterwards governing the country would be something different. And will be subject to many factors."
Trump first put forward his plan to deny entry to Muslims in December and has reiterated it numerous times since. His entire presidential campaign has been heavily criticized for blatant Islamophobia, racism and overt xenophobia.
Many have also noted an uptick in hate crimes against Muslims and mosques in the U.S. since Trump's campaign began, leading them to suggest a correlation.
Sisi had short and obscure remarks about Clinton. "Political parties in the United States would not allow candidates to reach that level unless they are qualified to lead a country the size of the United States of America."
Activists and rights groups criticized the U.S. presidential candidates decision to meet with Sisi in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.
“Since taking power via a military coup three years ago, President Sisi has overseen not only the complete reversal of Egypt’s nascent democratic transition but also unprecedented human rights abuses,” a group of scholars and activists wrote in an open letter, according to Politico .
“It is not in our interest to embrace him but to use our influence to press for beneficial change in Egypt.”
After he toppled Egypt’s first-ever democratically elected, though highly controversial, government in a military coup, rights groups have accused Sisi of heavy-handedly cracking down on dissidents. Many have been jailed, tortured or have simply disappeared, according to reports .
While Clinton brought up human rights abuses in her meeting with Sisi, Trump came out with only glowing praise for the Egyptian president.
“Mr. Trump expressed to President el-Sisi his strong support for Egypt’s war on terrorism, and how under a Trump Administration, the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on in the days and years ahead,” according to a statement released by Trump’s campaign.
It appears that an unusual – and perhaps worrisome – friendship has been formed?