Trump Invites Philippine President Duterte To White House

AP

President Donald Trump on Saturday invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has made public death threats against drug suspects as part of his bloody anti-crime war, to visit the White House.

In an official readout of a call between Trump and Duterte, the White House said the two had a “very friendly conversation” and that “President Trump enjoyed the conversation.”

According to the readout, Trump and Duterte “also discussed the fact that the Philippine government is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.”

Since taking office in May, Duterte has launched a crackdown on illegal drugs that has led to a spike in extrajudicial killings. Human Rights Watch in March reported that more than 7,000 killings have taken place since Duterte’s inauguration last year.

“President Trump also invited President Duterte to the White House to discuss the importance of the the United States-Philippines alliance, which is now heading in a very positive direction,” the White House said.

Duterte in September 2016 warned President Barack Obama not to challenge him over extrajudicial killings during his presidency, and called Obama a “son of a bitch.”

Obama called off a planned meeting with Duterte in the same month, and called the Philippine president “a colorful guy.”

Duterte later expressed regret that his comment “came across as a personal attack.” He then went on to compare his war on crime to the Holocaust, a rhetorical tactic which has caused Trump’s administration no small amount of trouble.

“Hitler massacred 3 million Jews,” Duterte said. “There’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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