On Monday, President Trump strongly praised Rodrigo Duterte, the extremely controversial President of the Philippines.
During joint remarks with Duterte, Trump stated, “But we’ve had a great relationship. This has been very successful. We have many meetings today with many other leaders. And the ASEAN conference has been handled beautifully by the President in the Philippines and your representatives.”
Trump continued, saying, “But we very much appreciate the great treatment you’ve given us. I thought last night’s event was fantastic. Tremendous talent — most of it, I guess, from the Philippines. But tremendous talent — musical talent, dance talent. And we really had a tremendous time, all of the leaders.”
Trump was under heavy pressure to discuss human rights and Duterte’s controversial tactics in handling his country’s drug problem.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that the two leaders “briefly” discussed the issues.
“The conversation focused on ISIS, illegal drugs and trade. Human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines’s fight against illegal drugs,” she said.
However, a spokesman for Duterte claimed the opposite.
“There was no mention of human rights, no mention of extra-legal killings,” the spokesman said, according to Reuters.