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In a new clip from an interview with Bob Woodward, President Trump said that his relationships with world leaders are better "the tougher and meaner they are," naming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as an example.

Why it matters: Trump has often faced criticism for his warm relations and praise for authoritarian leaders like Erdoğan, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He has had a more confrontational relationship with traditional U.S. allies like Germany and South Korea.

What he's saying: "I get along very well with Erdogan, even though you're not supposed to because everyone says, 'What a horrible guy.' But, you know, for me it works out good," Trump told Woodward in a clip released on NBC's "Today."

  • "It's funny, the relationships I have, the tougher and meaner they are, the better I get along with them. You'll explain that to me someday, ok? But maybe it's not a bad thing. The easy ones I maybe don't like as much or don't get along with as much."

Woodward's response: "The president controls foreign relations unilaterally. He decides, and he has decided, oh, I'm going to get along with Putin, I'm going to get along with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, MBS, and I'm going to try to get along with Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea."

  • "But not South Korea. He just smears South Korea time and time again in my interviews," Woodward continued. "He is the face of the United States to the world. And he has said, hey look, I get along with these bad guys but not the good guys."

Go deeper

Dec 15, 2020 - World

Putin congratulates Biden on U.S. election win

Russia's President Vladimir Putin during an teleconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence in Moscow. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a message of congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden, the Kremlin announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Putin was one of the few world leaders to refrain from congratulating Biden for his election win. But after the Electoral College affirmed his election victory, the Kremlin released a statement saying Putin looked forward to having "interaction and contact with" Biden, per Russia's TASS news agency.

3 hours ago - Health

Axios AM Deep Dive: Covid forever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was 563 days ago that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by healthcare reporter Caitlin Owens, looks at our Covid future.

Federal judge blocks vaccine mandate for NYC teachers

Students are dismissed from the first day of school at PS 133 in Brooklyn on Sept. 13. Photo: Michael Nagle/Xinhua via Getty Images

A federal appeals court judge on Friday temporarily blocked New York City schools from enforcing a vaccine mandate for school employees, days before it was set to take effect, AP reports.

Driving the news: The vaccine mandate was set to begin on Monday, prompting concerns over staffing shortages in schools across the nation's largest school system.