Trump says US is 'great friend and ally' to controversial Egyptian President el-Sissi in White House meeting

The White House would not rule out whether they would discuss human rights.

In a press conference this afternoon, Trump said he looks "forward to a very long and strong relationship" with the Egyptian president as they work to defeat together ISIS in the Middle East. Later this afternoon, he told reporters "we’ve made great progress today with Egypt, really great progress."

"I just want to say to you, Mr. President, you have a great friend and ally in the United States," Trump said.

Former President Barack Obama did not invite el-Sissi to the White House, and other Western leaders have spoken out against political repression under the Egyptian president.

Trump and el-Sissi have been friendly since they met during the campaign in September, when Trump called el-Sissi a "fantastic guy.”

"Very strongly and very openly, you will find Egypt and myself always behind you in this, in bringing about an effective strategy in counterterrorism," el-Sissi said, with the assistance of an interpreter.

In a United Nations Security Council press conference this afternoon, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Trump's visit with President el-Sissi does not mean his administration doesn't care about human rights abuses.

Haley said that in order to reach their counter-terrorism goals, the administration is "going to play with whoever we need to play with."

Trump "didn't say [el-Sissi] was 'fantastic' with human rights," she added.