Donald Trump Jr. was criticized for attempting to downplay his father's often deferential attitude toward dictators like Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean President Kim Jong Un, insisting in a video that it was alll part of an elaborate ruse.
In a video posted to Facebook, Trump Jr. characterized his father, former President Donald Trump, as a master manipulator who'd simply flattered noted authoritarians to suit his own ends.
You can hear what he said in the video below.
Mocking people who've criticized Trump for "folding" to dictators, Trump Jr. insisted that his father's detractors amount to "some nerd in his mom's basement who's never dealt with anything" and "never actually understood those people."
"In academia, they're writing this stuff, it's real, like they actually have a say, like they actually know what the hell they're talking about. You ever think, like all other things, that Trump understood that?"
"He knew exactly how to play these guys and he played them like a fiddle!"
Many considered Trump Jr.'s rant as "bizarre" and offered further criticisms of his father, whose free-wheeling style and admiration for despots have been cited for hurting the United States on the international stage.
Former President Trump's praise for dictators is well documented.
Trump, who has long cozied up to Putin, sparked international controversy during the now infamous 2018 Helsinki summit after he publicly sided with Putin over the assessment of his own intelligence agencies that Russian operatives subverted the 2016 general election and undermined American democracy.
Earlier that same year, Trump came under fire after he praised Kim, the leader of one of the world's most brutal totalitarian regimes, as a “smart guy” and a “great negotiator.”
In a well publicized appearance, veteran diplomat William Burns said that Trump's attempts to build personal relationships and curry favor with authoritarians like Putin and Kim make him appear "weak" at the negotiating table.
Burns further noted that Trump's approach, as well as his failure to fill hundreds of vacancies within the State Department, undermined American foreign policy worldwide.