A controversial referendum has granted Turkish President Recep Erdogan expanded powers, effectively condensing Turkey’s parliamentary system into Erdogan’s executive branch. So Trump, the leader of the free world, called to congratulate him.
Per PBS, the referendum will:
“…result in abolishing the office of prime minister and allowing the president to draft the budget, issue decrees, and appoint judges without parliamentary approval… Opponents charge the changes will lead to authoritarian, one-man rule, and they have already begun challenging the results.”
Those challenges stem from claims of ballot stuffing. Unverified videos have surfaced in which individuals can be seen voting as many as five times, which, if replicated hundreds or thousands of times throughout the country, could result in a skewed referendum result.
Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s state-run news, reported that Trump called Erdogan to congratulate him on his consolidation of power.
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) April 17, 2017
In his short time in office, Trump has already shown unprecedented disdain for the checks and balances so vital to our democracy. So far, he has signed 64 executive actions with far-reaching implications for Americans. By comparison, President Obama issued 277 executive orders over eight years. He has engaged militarily in Syria, Afghanistan, and North Korea with no Congressional approval. And he is looking to single-handedly decimate the progress that the United States has made with regard to climate change regulations.
There is no reason that the President of the United States should congratulate the leader of an unready unstable country for effectively undermining their own democracy. The United States has worked since its inception to spread democracy throughout the world; with one phone call, Trump has reversed America’s leadership in this realm. With an unabashed affinity for autocratic leaders like Vladimir Putin, Americans should be exceedingly wary of our power-hungry President. Trump has shown his true colors—and they don’t seem very red, white or blue.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.