President Donald Trump and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte did talk about human rights and Duterte’s bloody drug war when they met behind closed doors a few days ago, the White House stated. At the same time, Duterte’s spokesman denied that and said that the two leaders didn’t talk about human rights. After the meeting Trump and Duterte ignored the numerous questions from the reporters connected to the human rights and the drug war.
Even though White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “the conversation focused on ISIS, illegal drugs and trade and that human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines’ fight against illegal drugs,” Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said that the presidents did not discuss that topic. According to the spokesman, Duterte mentioned drug menace in the Philippines and Trump had no official position on the matter. Roque added that the president of the U.S. appeared sympathetic and was just nodding his head.
Before the visit Roque told CNN that he sees Trump and Duterte as very much alike in their thinking, their language and demeanor. Leaders in the Philippines think that Trump’s visit is a step forward in the relations between the countries. The relations between Duterte and former U.S. President Barack Obama were tense and Duterte even called him a “son of a bitch” and added that he could “go to hell.”
Duterte is in war with the drug users and he even bragged that he personally killed someone when he was younger. According to the police, the drug war has killed at least 6,000 people. That caused widespread criticism and many have expressed worries about the human rights in the country.