Egyptian media reports that President Trump has apparently offered his "sincere congratulations" to Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who won re-election Monday with 97 percent of vote:
Trump just called Sisi to express his "sincere congratulations" on the election victory according to Egypt's MENA.
— Eric Knecht (@EricKnecht) April 2, 2018
Egypt is considered "not free" by independent watchdog organization Freedom House, which monitors the state of global democracies. In elections in 2015, the organization observed "low turnout, intimidation, and abuse of state resources." In the recent Egyptian presidential election, The Guardian writes that there were "no public debates" and "Sisi crushed all dissent in his bid to seek a second term in office, with five potential opponents prevented from getting on the ballot." He ultimately faced just one opponent, with Foreign Policy describing the contest as "neither free nor fair."
The U.S. State Department issued a mild statement on the Egyptian elections, noting "reports of constraints on freedoms of expression and association in the run-up to the elections." Trump controversially met with Sisi in Washington, D.C., in April 2017, becoming the first president to welcome the Egyptian leader to the White House in eight years. Trump had also praised Sisi in 2016, claiming that the Egyptian ruler, who came to power in a military coup, "took control of Egypt. And he really took control of it."
Trump similarly called Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his recent re-election. Putin won 75 percent of the vote in an election critics have dismissed as a "charade," The Washington Post reports.