Trump praises Philippine president
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump praised the Philippines’ president for an “unbelievable job” in a fight against illegal drugs that has left thousands dead and drawn condemnation from American lawmakers, according to a leaked transcript of their telephone conversation last month.
Trump’s discussion with Rodrigo Duterte is likely to reinforce the impression that Trump is sidelining human rights concerns in his foreign policy.
The transcript of the April 29 call was posted by The Washington Post.
It also shows the leaders discussing the North Korean threat, with each referring to the North’s ruler, Kim Jong Un, as a “madman.” In an unusual disclosure of the movements of U.S. military assets, Trump revealed the U.S. had two nuclear submarines in the region. He said the United States didn’t want to use them.
At the time of the call, Trump raised hackles in Washington by inviting Duterte to the White House. Since Duterte took power in June, his anti-drug campaign has killed between 7,000 and 9,000 suspected dealers and addicts, according to human rights groups. The State Department has voiced concern over extrajudicial killings.