There’s something I don’t understand. President Donald Trump calls Democrats socialists, as if that it is an extreme derogatory comment. Meanwhile, he seems to idolize and fawn over foreign leaders such as Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan as strong, good leaders.

What I don’t get is the fact that all three countries — North Korea, Russia and Turkey — are highly centralized and authoritarian government-run countries that are the highlight of socialism. All three countries have universal health care, with Russia using 6.5% of its gross domestic product and North Korea using 3% of its GDP to foot the bill.

After Erdogan was elected president of Turkey, he officially switched to an “executive presidency,” promising to reinforce the social state. He transferred all executive power of the prime minister to the president. In Turkey, there is a mixed system of private and public health care with about 80% to 90% of the population using the public system.

As far as economic freedom, Russia ranks 41st out of 44 countries in the European region, with its weak property rights, pervasive corruption and a heavily restricted media. North Korea is a “socialist state” run by a totalitarian dictatorship.

Why is it that our president and his supporters rally and praise these socialistic countries and then, with the next breath, decry the evils of “socialism”? Which way is it? Are these great countries that we should emulate? Or is socialism something we must stomp out at every turn? Can someone please explain?

J.J. Volpone

Lancaster Township