President Trump is nearing the end of his time overseas touring Asia, and during his time overseas, he has declined to step up to the plate and serve as the leader he is supposed to be as a U.S. president. Recently, he openly sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies, and now, he has taken to praising the brutal Filipino dictator Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte’s “war on drugs” has left untold numbers of people dead, people who have been executed outside of the realm of the law.
Even still, Trump did not push the issue of human rights with the Filipino leader.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the issue was brought up, but only “briefly,” saying:
‘The conversation focused on ISIS, illegal drugs, and trade. Human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs.’
Duterte spokesman Harry Roque, however, explained that the issue of human rights was not brought up, telling reporters:
‘The issue of human rights did not arise. It was not brought up. It was President Duterte who brought up with President Trump the drug menace in the Philippines, and the US president appeared sympathetic and did not have any official position on the matter but was merely nodding his head.’
It’s a sorry state of affairs when, thanks to incessant lying from the White House press secretary, it’s not a given that we should believe her above the spokesman for a dictator.
Lending to Roque’s assertion of human rights not being brought up being accurate, Trump praised Duterte while speaking alongside him on Monday.
He told reporters:
‘But ah, we’ve had a great relationship. his has been very successful. We’ve had many meetings today with many other leaders. The ASEAN conference has been handled beautifully by the president of the Philippines and your representatives. I’ve really enjoyed being here.’
As POLITICO reports, both leaders ducked shouted questions about whether they had, in fact, addressed the ongoing human rights issue in the Philippines.
Trump and Duterte, at their joint press conference, had some sort of demented bonding experience over shared hatred of the free press. After Duterte called the members of the media “spies,” Trump laughed.
Monday, while in the Phillipines for an economic summit towards the end of his trip overseas, is not the first time that Trump has praised Rodrigo Duterte.
Trump spoke on the phone with Duterte earlier this year, and during that call, he praised Duterte for doing an “unbelievable” job in his efforts to crack down on drugs — even though those efforts have included numerous extrajudicial killings.
Not only did Trump praise Duterte on a phone call, but he even invited him to the White House, completely of his own accord.
In the face of criticism, the White House stood by the invitation to Duterte.
This isn’t even the first time that Trump has praised a dictator while overseas touring Asia over the past week or so.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One, Trump said he believed Putin’s insistence that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Featured Image via ROLEX DELA PENA/AFP/Getty Images