After four years of tension with the United States, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi now has a fan in the White House and on Monday he meets President Donald Trump.
The American former reality television star and tycoon has made no secret of his admiration for the ex-army chief who overthrew his predecessor Mohamamd Mursi and cracked down on his supporters.
Mursi’s ouster in 2013, a year after he had won Egypt’s first democratic election, and the ensuing crackdown on his supporters prompted then US president Barack Obama to suspend military aid to Cairo temporarily.
But when Sisi meets Trump on Monday during his first state visit to Washington, he will see a counterpart who better appreciates his “mission” to fight Islamists and jihadists, without Obama’s hand-wringing over human rights.
“As a matter of fact President-elect Trump has shown deep and great understanding of what is taking place in the region as a whole and what is taking place in Egypt,” Sisi, who met Trump in September before his election, said in an interview.
A senior White House official said Friday that Trump wants to “build on the strong connection the two presidents established” then.
Trump has been gushing about Sisi.
“He’s a fantastic guy. Took control of Egypt, and he really took control of it,” he told Fox Business of the period after Mursi’s overthrow which saw hundreds of protesters killed and thousands detained.