Without consulting the State Department, Trump invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to visit him at the White House.
Human rights groups were aghast at the invitation. John Sifton of Human Rights Watch said:
“By essentially endorsing Duterte’s murderous war on drugs, Trump is now morally complicit in future killings. Although the traits of his personality likely make it impossible, Trump should be ashamed of himself.”
Trump and Duterte spoke by phone on Saturday “to discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance.” Per the White House, the call was described as “very friendly.”
According to The Hill:
Since taking office, Duterte has encouraged the extrajudicial killings of thousands of his own citizens accused of dealing or using drugs. He has also compared his campaign to kill drug users to the Holocaust.
“Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there are 3 million drug addicts [in the Philippines] … I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he reportedly said in September.
Not only has Duterte encouraged murder, but he has admitted to committing it himself.
“In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys [police] that if I can do it why can’t you,” he said.
“And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.”
Trump’s presidency has been marked by a strained relationship with our allies while cozying up to various autocratic rulers, such as Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Erdogan of Turkey. His relationship with Duterte, though, represents a new low for Trump in an already dismal first 100 days in office.
Brian Tyler Cohen is a political writer, actor, and comedy sketch director. He graduated from Lehigh University with a dual degree in English and Business. He currently lives in Los Angeles.