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Duterte warns Trump to “lay off” human rights lecture

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has taken a lot of criticism for his bloody crackdown on small-time drug users that’s left thousands dead.

But not from the Trump administration.

And right before the two presidents finally meet face to face, Duterte is making it clear Trump better keep it that way.

Speaking to reporters ahead of their expected meeting on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam, Duterte said he wouldn’t stand to hear a lecture about human rights from the President of the United States.


“You want to ask a question, I’ll give you an answer: Lay off,” Duterte told reporters when asked how he would respond. “That is not your business. That is my business. I take care of my country and I will nurture my country to health.”

Read more: Duterte’s drug war reaches a turning point after teen’s killing

Not that Trump appears all that keen to raise the subject.

Ahead of Trump’s 12-day jaunt through Asia, an unnamed senior White House official briefing reporters said Trump and Duterte enjoy the friendliest of relations.

“I think there’s a warm rapport there,” the official said. “He’s very much looking forward to his first meeting with President Duterte.”

That message agrees with the leaked transcript of a call between Trump and the Philippine strongman back in April.

“I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” Trump gushed to Duterte, according to the transcript. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Human Rights Watch says Duterte’s campaign on drug users has left at least 7,000 dead, and that most victims have been small-time users and peddlers.