By custom, most world leaders do not weigh in on U.S. presidential elections, wary of alienating one side or damaging strategic interests by appearing to interfere.

In 2016, then-Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton, speaking at a town hall gathering, said that foreign leaders had asked whether they could endorse her, “to stop Donald Trump.” A few, such as Matteo Renzi, Italy’s prime minister at the time, had already done so in public. But she would not run down the list.

President Trump, on the other hand, in 2016 and 2020, has received the vocal support of a handful of foreign leaders, mostly right-wing populists known for clear parallels to him in policy and rhetoric.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, like Clinton, has received significant support from former heads of state worldwide. But, despite Trump’s low approval rating in many countries, shown in polls, most world leaders have remained quiet.

Here are some nations with leaders who have bucked the norm and expressed support for Trump.


Shortly after Trump first accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in July 2016, he was endorsed by Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s right-wing nationalist prime minister.

That early support cemented what has developed into a close affinity, built in part on shared anti-immigration views. Last month, Orbán again endorsed Trump.

“We root for Donald Trump’s victory, because we know well American Democratic governments’ diplomacy, built on moral imperialism,” Orbán wrote in an essay, Reuters reported. “We have been forced to sample it before, we did not like it, we do not want seconds.”


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on July 16 that "We are rooting for Trump" in the U.S. presidential election in November. (Reuters)

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro endorsed Trump earlier this month, after signing a new trade deal with the United States.

“God willing, I will be able to attend” the inauguration, Bolsonaro said, according to Politico. Brazil’s leader added that he did not want to “interfere” and said he was speaking “from the heart.”

Like Orbán, Trump and Bolsonaro share common ground. They are known for populist policies and bombastic rhetoric that defies political norms. Amid presidencies marked by two of the world’s most severe novel coronavirus outbreaks, they both have been infected with the virus while continuing to play down its effect.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gave Trump’s reelection bid his blessing in February, shortly after ending a long-standing military agreement with the United States.

Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper called the decision to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement “unfortunate,” but Trump said he did not mind.

“It is President Trump’s circumspect and judicious reaction to the termination of the VFA that made President Duterte give the following remarks: ‘President Trump is a good president and he deserves to be reelected,’ ” the country’s presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement, Reuters reported.

Human rights groups accuse Duterte of enabling rights abuses and a culture of widespread impunity in crackdowns on political opponents and an ongoing war on drugs.


The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo, the independence of which Serbia does not recognize, met with Trump in September and agreed to normalize economic ties. Although the deal is short of fully restored relations, U.S. diplomats called it “a first step.”

It was a political win for Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, who in June told a local television station that Trump faced “a serious and tough enemy” after anti-racism protests erupted following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May, the Associated Press reported.

“I hope the U.S. will come out of the crisis,” he said, adding that he wished Trump “the best of luck.”

Vucic was elected president in 2017 after having served as prime minister. The former head of an ultranationalist Serbian party, he has recast himself as a pro-Western liberal while maintaining close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Another leader in the region, Milorad Dodik — the Serb member of Bosnia’s three-part multiethnic presidency — on Friday called on Serbs in the United States to vote for Trump and said that Biden “is simply a Serb hater,” according to the AP.


The prime minister of Slovenia endorsed Trump in a tweet on Friday, adding the birthplace of first lady Melania Trump to the clique of countries with leaders who have sided with the incumbent.

“We respect difficult, tragic personal life of @JoeBiden and some of his political achievements years ago,” Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa tweeted, in a reference to Biden, who lost a wife and daughter in a car crash and a son to cancer.

“But today, if elected, he would be one of the weakest presidents in history. When a free world desperately needs a STRONG #U.S. as never before. Go, win, @realDonaldTrump,” Jansa wrote. He ended the tweet with images of American and Slovenian flags.