President Trump’s “very friendly conversation” and White House welcome to Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte — a self-professed killer — had plenty of people scratching their heads.
But the two leaders might gel more smoothly than you imagined: After all, Duterte’s brashness and authoritarian streak earned him the nickname “Filipino Trump” during his presidential campaign.
And though Trump is not under fire for urging the extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, and the two leaders ascended to office from decidedly different backgrounds — Duterte, a former prosecutor and seven-term mayor; Trump, a real-estate mogul and entertainer — the duo does bear some surface-level similarities:
1. A penchant for saying pretty much anything
Trump, since announcing his candidacy nearly two years ago, has called Mexicans “rapists,” claimed Hillary Clinton got “schlonged,” said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he got captured, and more recently bragged that his presence drew a CBS show its biggest ratings since 9/11.
Duterte has compared his own drug crusade to Adolf Hitler’s slaughter of Jews, called the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines a “gay son of a b—h,” claimed he’d kill “drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings,” boasted about being a womanizer and threatened to declare martial law.
2. A tough-on-crime platform
The Filipino strongman — who has publicly admitted to killing three people in the late ‘80s — waged a ruthless drug war after taking office in June that has seen thousands of killings by both vigilantes and police.
The U.S. President made being “tough on crime” a key touchstone of his campaign and has made a point of backing law enforcement at every turn. During his inaugural address, he vowed to end the “American carnage” of “crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential” — despite violent crime in America being at an all-time low.
3. Barack Obama-bashing
Trump waged a years-long campaign to delegitimize his predecessor centered on the baseless claim that Obama was born in Kenya — and continues to blame the former administration for everything from Syrian President Bashar Assad’s recent chemical attack to the shoddy vetting of onetime national security advisor Michael Flynn.
Duterte has somehow been even less diplomatic, having called Obama a “son of a whore” and telling him to “go to hell.”
4. Insulting the Pope
Trump — whose spokesman now says he’d be “honored” to meet with Pope Francis — bristled in February 2016 at Il Papa suggesting his plan for “building walls” was un-Christian.
“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” the candidate shot back in a statement. “I am proud to be a Christian and as President I will not allow Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened, unlike what is happening now, with our current President.”
Duterte, remarking on Papal gridlock last year, said, “We were affected by the traffic. It took us five hours. I asked why, they said it was closed. I asked who is coming. They answered, the Pope. I wanted to call him: ‘Pope, son of a whore, go home. Do not visit us again.’” He later apologized in a letter to the Vatican.
5. Media hostility
Trump has repeatedly raked the “fake news” media over the coals, vowed to “open up” libel laws and declared the press “the enemy of the people.”
Duterte in June backed the assassination of corrupt journalists in the Philippines — where, according to the nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists, 78 reporters have been killed in the last 25 years: “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch,” he said in a press conference.
Duterte, 71, and Trump, 70, are the oldest people to assume the presidencies of their respective countries.
The Filipino leader in December expressed doubt he’d even live to see the end of his six-year term: “I am old,” he said, according to Reuters. “This is my last hurrah — after this, 77 — I am not sure if I will still be around by the end of my term.”
7. Grandiose ISIS rhetoric
Trump in November 2015 memorably vowed to “bomb the s–t” out of the Islamic State. Duterte, meanwhile, warned last week he would “eat their livers.”
Source: Ny Daily News