Most American presidents wouldn’t heap praise on a foreign leader for spearheading an anti-drug campaign that has killed more than 7,000 people, including children as young as 4. Donald Trump, as we learn again and again, isn’t like most US presidents.
“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in a chummy phone call, according to a transcript obtained by the Washington Post and other media outlets. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”
There’s a lot to unpack there. In September, Duterte likened his quest to rid the Philippines of drug addicts to Hitler’s purge of European Jews, saying he’d be “happy to slaughter” millions of drug addicts. Humans rights groups around the world have condemned his extrajudicial killings, and the Obama administration was critical of it as well. (Duterte responded by calling Obama a “son of a whore.”)
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