Trump: Brutal Philippines strongman can't be that bad because 'he has a very high approval rating'
Philippine Pres. Rodrigo Duterte and U.S. Pres. Donald Trump (composite image)

President Donald Trump defended Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday by pointing to his strong poll ratings.

During an interview with Bloomberg, Trump praised Duterte for being "very, very tough" in solving his country's problems with heroin addiction.

Duterte has drawn criticism from international human rights monitors for his brutal drug war that has involved killing thousands of drug addicts. In fact, Duterte even recently encouraged unemployed Filipinos to make themselves useful by killing drug addicts.

"If you lose your job, I’ll give you one," he told a group of workers last month. "Kill all the drug addicts."

Despite this, Trump didn't want to judge Duterte's methods.

"He’s been very very tough on that drug problem, but he has a massive drug problem," Trump said.

Additionally, the president noted that Duterte is very popular with his people, despite all the international criticism he's getting for encouraging vigilantes to murder drug addicts. In fact, one recent poll pegged Duterte's approval rating at 78%, which is vastly higher than the approval ratings most American presidents receive.

"You know he’s very popular in the Philippines,” Trump said. “He has a very high approval rating in the Philippines."