Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and US President-elect Donald Trump have been compared numerous times for their blunt styles and reputations as outsiders.
When Trump won the US election in November, Duterte heralded his victory, and Trump told Duterte that he was pursuing the Philippines’ bloody drug war “the right way,” Duterte has said.
On Wednesday, Duterte, who has become known for his rough language and colorful speaking style, debuted his impression of Trump in a profanity-laced recounting of his December 2 phone call with the US president-elect.
Duterte: “Mr. President, it’s evening here, good evening.”
Trump: “Oh, President Duterte, we should fix our bad relations. It needs a lot of … you know, you just said something good here, and you’re doing great. I know what you’re … you worry about Americans criticizing you. You’re doing good, go ahead. I had this problem in the border of Mexico and America and this goddamn s— guy …”
Duterte then spoke in Tagalog, his native language, before returning to his retelling of the conversation:
Trump: “Media? No media supported me, and I did it on my own.”
Duterte: “That’s why I’m very impressed with you, Mr. President.”
Trump: “Oh yes, when you come to Washington, DC, or New York City, look me up and I will have coffee. Maybe you can give me a suggestion, one or two, how to solve this goddamn bulls— … son of a b—- …”
Duterte has developed a reputation for speaking bluntly, often forgoing diplomatic formalities and lacing his comments with obscenities. This was not his first impression, either. He’s also impersonated his foreign secretary and his law school professors, according to the Philippine news site Rappler.
The Philippine president said his chat with Trump left him feeling “like a saint” because of the drastic change in tone from that of the current US administration.
Duterte’s seeming chumminess with Trump is in sharp contrast to his relationship with US President Barack Obama, who, along with other countries and international groups, has heavily criticized the bloody drug war Duterte initiated when he took office this summer.
- REUTERS/Ezra Acayan
Earlier this year, Duterte gave remarks that were widely interpreted as him calling Obama a “son of a whore.” He apologized for that incident, but in October, Duterte again rebuked Obama and the international community.
“Mr. Obama, you can go to hell. EU, better choose purgatory. Hell is full. Why should I be scared of you?” he told a group of local officials in a Manila suburb, according to Rappler.
Duterte has also made overtures to China and to Russian President Vladimir Putin – gestures that are part of Duterte’s “separation” from his country’s longtime alliance with the US.
Since Duterte took office at the end of June, the anti-narcotics campaign mounted by Philippine authorities has led to the deaths of about 4,800 Filipinos. Many of those killings remain under investigation or were unrelated to police operations, leading to accusations that vigilantes, death squads, and hit men are adding to the body count.