Donald Trump is a fan of Philippine dictator's inhumane war on drugs

Trump told Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte that he thinks he's doing a "great job"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 24, 2017 8:27AM (EDT)

Rodrigo Duterte; Donald Trump (Getty/Noel Celis/Alex Wong)
Rodrigo Duterte; Donald Trump (Getty/Noel Celis/Alex Wong)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has already made it clear that he plans on doubling down on the war on drugs, but a recently unearthed conversation between President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reveals the horrifying extent to which Trump supports draconian anti-drug policies.

"I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem," Trump told Duterte during an April 29 phone call, according to the New York Times. "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." Trump didn't mention that the thousands of extrajudicial killings under Duterte's watch have been met with condemnation by human rights groups.

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Duterte replied that drugs "scourge of my nation now and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation," according to a report by The Washington Post. This prompted Trump to take an apparent stab at insulting his predecessor, President Barack Obama, whom Duterte once called the "son of a whore."

Trump told Duterte that "I understand that and fully understand that and I think we had a previous president who did not understand that."

The bulk of the Trump-Duterte conversation seemed to revolve around the North Korean problem, with Trump acknowledging that it would not be easy for China to rein in its wayward ally and Duterte concurring with Trump that "at the end of the day, the last card, the ace, has to be with China. It’s only China."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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