President-elect Donald Trump on Friday praised the bloody crackdown on drugs in the Philippines, saying President Rodrigo Duterte is handling it “the right way,” according to the Philippine leader, in stark contrast to the criticism he received from President Obama.Duterte said that Trump, during a seven-minute telephone call, was receptive to the Philippines’ brutal drug crackdown, which has resulted in thousands of extrajudicial killings (that means executions with no conviction and without even a trial) of accused dealers and users in the island nation.
President Duterte, 71, has encouraged the unprecedented killings of people suspected of using or selling drugs, reports Katie Reilly at TIME. His stated plan is to “kill all” the country’s suspected drug users and dealers, reports Emily Rauhala at The Washington Post.
Since he took office in June, more than 2,000 people have been slaughtered in the streets and in their by police and vigilantes, The New York Times reports. But President Rodrigo proudly puts the number of dead much higher, at 4,800 since June, reports The Guardian.
The Philippine president has invoked the Holocaust to defend his bloody War On Drugs. “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews,” he said. “Now, there are 3 million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” That should go over big with Trump’s Neo-Nazi, I mean “Alt-Right” supporters, don’t you think?When President Obama said he planned to bring up the killings in scheduled talks with the Philippine leader, Duterte called him “a son of a whore.”
“[Trump] wishes me well in my campaign and said that we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” Duterte crowed, reports Reena Flores at CBS News. He described an “animated” Trump, saying “I could sense a good rapport.”
“He was wishing me success in my campaign on the drug problem,” Duterte said. “He understood the way we are handling it, and he said there’s nothing wrong in protecting your country.”“It was a bit very encouraging in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that he would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country,” Duterte said.
Duterte has suggested in the past that “he could be friendly with” Trump, and wished the incoming American leader success.
During his own controversial campaign for the presidency in the Philippines, Duterte had promised to use law enforcement to “hunt down” drug dealers and users, warning the country was at risk to become a “narco state.”
“When I become president, I’ll order the police and military to find these people and kill them,” Duterte promised during his campaign in March. “The funeral parlors will be packed.”Since assuming office, Duterte has encouraged police and even civilians to kill drug users.
“My order is shoot to kill you,” Duterte infamously said of drug dealers, reports The Week. “I don’t care about human rights, you’d better believe me.” It took only 60 days for Duterte to follow through on his promise; the death toll was 2,400 in the first two months alone.
When the Trump transition team released its own statement on the call between the two leaders, it mentioned none of the bloody details Duterte offered.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Philippines offered his congratulatory wishes to President-elect Trump,” the Trump statement said. “In their conversation, they noted the long history of friendship and cooperation between the two nations, and agreed that the two governments would continue to work together closely on matters of shared interest and concern.”
Trump actually invited Duterte to visit the White House during their phone conversation, according to Reuters.Duterte, known for his anti-U.S. stance, blasted President Obama and the State Department for their condemnation of his human rights abuses in the gangland style drug war killings encouraged by the Philippine government.
Duterte once said in a speech that President Obama can “go to hell,” and promised to humiliate him if he visits the Philippines. His anger was unleashed at Obama after the U.S. President expressed concern about human rights abuses in the War On Drugs.
In his five months in office, Duterte has upended Philippine foreign policy by lambasting the United States, cozying up to China and pursuing a new alliance with Russia. He caused a stir when he visited China in October and announced his “separation” from the U.S., saying “America has lost” when it comes to the former U.S. colony that has been a close partner for decades.
A source who has advised Trump’s transition team on security policy told Reuters last week the President-elect would start a “clean slate” with Duterte. Analysts, tellingly, “see some similarities in their blunt style,” the source said.When asked about Trump’s invitation to Duterte to visit the White House, Obama Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz called Duterte’s extrajudicial killings “inconsistent with the values that we try and promote around the world — values that include basic human rights.”
“It’s going to be up to the next President-elect to decide which foreign leaders he meets with,” Schultz said. “We can say at this stage that our relationship with the US is improving,” said Duterte aide Ernest Abella, reports Al Arabiya.
“I don’t want to fight now that Trump’s there,” Duterte said in a speech after last month’s U.S. election. “I would like to congratulate President Trump. May you live, Mr. Trump! We both curse at the slightest of reason. We are alike.”
Trump will be “a good president for the United States of America,” Duterte said after Friday’s call.
Philippines expert Ernest Bower of the Bower Group Asia consultancy said it was likely Friday’s call was facilitated by Trump’s business partners in the Philippines and a “core group of advisers,” mostly meaning Trump’s children.
Postscript: Trump-Bots Defend Their Hero
Sadly — but unsurprisingly — some of the less intelligent Trump fans (and that’s noticeably goddamned unintelligent, if you aren’t keeping score) on Facebook were quick to defend their hero. (See screen capture.)