During a call in April with Rodrigo Duterte, Donald Trump praised the Philippines president for doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem” in his county. Since becoming president in 2016, Duterte has waged a bloody war on drugs that’s resulted in the extrajudicial deaths of thousands of people
“Many countries have the problem, we have the problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that,” Trump said, according to a transcript of the call published by the Washington Post.
Duterte told Trump drugs were the “scourge of [his] nation,” prompting Trump to criticize his predecessor, Barack Obama, whose administration withheld aid to the Philippines over concern for the country’s war on drugs.
“I understand that and fully understand that and I think we had a previous president who did not understand that,” Trump told Duterte.
As the president of the Philippines island Davao, Duterte fully embraced an extrajudicial approach to riding the country of drug dealers.
“Throw them in the ocean or the quarry. Make it clean. Make sure there are no traces of the bodies,” Rodrigo Duterte said in 1989.
“Am I the death squad?” Duterte replied to a local TV station in 2015. “True. That is true.”