Published: Thu, May 25, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump's praise of Duterte's drug effort raises eyebrows

"We have two submarines - the best in the world - we have two nuclear submarines - not that we want to use them at all", Trump said, according to the transcript, which was first made public by The Intercept on May 23. "He is playing with his bombs, his toys and from the looks of it, his mind is not working well and he might just go insane one moment", Duterte told Trump. Further, a country, like China, that wants to develop anti-sub measures could find the location of two nuclear subs very useful for its purposes.

"We can't let a madman with nuclear weapons let on the loose like that", Trump replied. "We have a lot of firepower over there". Other officials said a security guard and two policemen were also killed, including the beheaded police chief.

"We have taken precautions, and are always aware of what is happening in the Philippines", he told Bernama on Wednesday.

The document suggests the leaked highly confidential document was from the Philippine side.

The group was blamed for a September 2016 bombing that killed 15 people in southern Davao city, the president's hometown. "This is how he's trying to proactively manage a very hard situation".

Trump then responds with an apparent swipe at former President Obama, who canceled a meeting with Duterte in September after the Filipino leader referred to him as a "son of a whore" for criticizing him over human rights abuses. While, the U.S. Navy usually publicly announces the deployment of a CSG listing the aircraft carrier and accompanying surface warships, it does not disclose the presence or designation of its undersea escort. According to The New York Times, government-sanctioned attacks on drug suspects have been implemented within the country, and have resulted in extrajudicial killings that have taken place without arrest or trial.

During that same call, Trump praised Duterte for his controversial drug war, which has left thousands of people dead.

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Duterte thanked Trump, reportedly saying that drugs were the "scourge" of his nation and that he was doing what he was doing to preserve the Philippines.

"I can not gamble with ISIS because they are everywhere", Duterte said.

"Since they are advocating ISIS ideology they have to show ISIS that they are a force to be reckoned with", he said, using an acronym for Islamic State.

President Duterte won a May 2016 election by a huge margin and is often compared with President Trump, having himself been the alternative candidate from outside mainstream politics. Trump, who hosted Xi at Trump's Florida resort in April, described Xi as a "good guy". Then-President Barack Obama cancelled a meeting with President Duterte past year after the Philippine leader insulted him.

Buzzfeed News reported that Pentagon officials are alarmed by Trump's disclosure. No sitting US president has met with a North Korean leader.

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