A phone call from the President of the USA to leaders around the world is normally part of the diplomatic process where ties to foreign countries are strengthened and maintained.
President Trump, on the other hand seems to have taken an unexpected turn with President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte. After infamously ‘lashing out’ at long term allies and PM of Australia Malcolm Turnbull and early last week getting into a bit of a tussle with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau over dairy farming, it was expected that Trump would take a hard stance against his Filipino counterpart. Rodrigo Duterte is is being criticized world over for the way in which he is handling the drug problem in his country by actually encouraging extrajudicial killings of those suspected to be in the drug trade.
As an authoritarian leader, many see his rule as flouting several human rights conventions. USA, as a self-proclaimed leader of peace and democracy to the world can be expected to take a tough stance against other leaders who engage in undemocratic processes, but Trump has actually invited Duterte over to the White House. He said to have had a ‘very friendly conversation’ with him over the phone.
The White House is gearing up for heavy criticism for this act both from within the government as well as from human rights groups everywhere. The National Guard and the State Department will be contesting this invitation internally. The news came after Trump spoke and riled up his supporters in a rally in Harrisburg. Even after 100 days in power, the White House is still facing situations that leave them shocked.
The Asia director of Human Rights Watch said that by being friendly with Duterte, Trump has endorsed his point of view, and this means any future killings will make Trump morally complicit in the act. He also went on to say that although Trump’s personality makes it impossible, he should really feel ashamed for what he has done. Senator Christopher S. Murphy made a statement that said that we are watching the American Human Rights pulpit disintegrate into ash.
Administration officials clarified that Trump’s call to the Philippines was only because other Asian leaders were feeling left out because Trump was focusing only on Japan, North Korea, and China. On Sunday, Trump reportedly spoke with Singaporean and Thai leaders as well, offering them invitations to the White House as well.