Rodrigo Duterte hails Donald Trump as ‘pragmatist’ and ‘deep thinker’

Rachael Revesz

Philippines leader Rodrgio Duterte has praised US President Donald Trump, calling him a “realist” and a man who “thinks deeply”.

Mr Duterte, who has boasted about killing people and was criticised by former President Barack Obama for his war on drugs, made the remarks at a recent news conference in Qatar.

“Trump is a realist, a pragmatic thinker,” he said.

Appearing to refer to Mr Trump’s impulsive tweets and rejection of criticism, he added: “You just think that, you know, both of us pretend that if we're insulted, we speak that way. But they don't know that in the case of Trump, he thinks deeply.”

The man who once said he “doesn’t give a s**t about human rights”, mentioned his phone conversation with Mr Trump in 2016, mimicking Mr Trump’s voice and claiming the US President told him he was “doing it right”.

He also mentioned Trump Tower in New York and made a link between wealth and intelligence.

“Trump wouldn't become a billionaire if he were stupid,” Mr Duterte said, as reported by Philippines news channel Rappler.

The day after the US election last November, Mr Duterte congratulated his win and declared: “Long live Mr Trump! We both curse at the slightest reason. We are alike.”

The Philippines leader has recently made headlines for telling China that a huge area of the South China Sea “is ours” and telling school children aged between four and 10 that he was “angry” and would “kill people if they destroy our youth”.

His war on drugs has left thousands of people dead since his election last year, a campaign which has been condemned by the Catholic Church.

About 7,700 people have died in the anti-drug push, with more than 2,500 people killed in operations when drug peddlers on the street resist authorities, according to police.

He has cracked down on opponents, recently arresting his biggest critic, Senator Leila de Lima, on corruption charges.

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