Bernie Sanders: It's 'strange' that Trump is more comfortable with authoritarians than democratic leaders

Bernie Sanders: It's 'strange' that Trump is more comfortable with authoritarians than democratic leaders
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersFive takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate Ben & Jerry’s co-founders announce effort to help 7 Dem House challengers Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states MORE (I-Vt.) questioned President TrumpDonald John TrumpHannity urges Trump not to fire 'anybody' after Rosenstein report Ben Carson appears to tie allegation against Kavanaugh to socialist plot Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate MORE's relationships with world leaders on Sunday, saying he found it strange that Trump had difficulty "getting along" with U.S. allies, but was "comfortable" working with authoritarian leaders. 

"I find it very strange that President Trump has such a hard time getting along with the leaders of the world's major democracies but feels very comfortable with despots and authoritarian leaders like [Vladimir] Putin, Xi Jinping, [Rodrigo] Duterte and Mohammad Bin Salman," Sanders said in a tweet, referring to the leaders of Russia, China, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia. 

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Sanders's remarks followed a tense weekend between Trump and members of the Group of Seven (G-7) at the group's summit in Canada. 

Trump, who left the summit ahead of schedule to depart for a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore, had exited the G-7 on Saturday on what appeared to be good terms among the group's leaders.

"The level of relationship is a 10. Angela [Merkel], Emmanuel [Macron], Justin [Trudeau]. I would say the relationship is a 10,” he said at the time.

Later that afternoon, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that all G-7 members had signed on to a joint communique at the summit's conclusion, as is customary.

But, hours later, Trump slammed Trudeau while en route to Singapore, saying that the U.S. would not endorse the joint statement signed with the other G-7 members, breaking with long-standing tradition. 

"Based on Justin’s false statements at his news conference, and the fact that Canada is charging massive Tariffs to our U.S. farmers, workers and companies, I have instructed our U.S. Reps not to endorse the Communique as we look at Tariffs on automobiles flooding the U.S. Market!" Trump said in a tweet. 

Before departing for the summit on Friday, Trump raised alarm among allies when he called for Russia to be reinstated in the G-7.

The suggestion was widely denounced by lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte backed Trump's position later that day, saying the move would be "in everyone's interest."

Russia was removed from the then-Group of Eight in 2014 in an effort to punish Moscow for annexing Crimea and supporting pro-Kremlin separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday lauded Trump's suggestion, even as the controversial idea failed to gain traction among other world leaders. 

“It wasn’t us who left,” Putin said. "We will be ready to greet them all in Moscow,” he added, referring to leaders of the U.S., the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, Canada and Italy.