Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte often makes headlines for all the wrong reasons: using profanity when referring to another head of state or directing an offensive gesture at a major politico-economic union.
On Wednesday, Duterte's rhetoric came with a significant policy shift. While in Beijing, he said it was "time to say goodbye" to the United States, later announcing the Philippines' economic and military "separation" from Washington.
As my colleague Emily Rauhala reports, he had more choice words for Americans: They are a “discourteous people,” with a “larynx not adjusted to civility.”
In contrast, Duterte seems to have nothing but kind words for China. On Thursday, after signing $13.5 billion in deals, he conjured a new regional order. "There are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way."
Indeed, much of Duterte's oratory ire has been directed at the United States and other Western powers, though in his four months as president, he has verbally attacked a wide range of figures and entities. Here's a sampling.
To the suspected Filipino drug gangs: 'I will kill millions'
More than 3,300 Filipinos — drug suspects or those mistakenly identified as drug suspects — have been killed as part of Duterte's war on drugs. He has promised to kill 100,000 criminals in his first six months in office. When his critics compared him to Hitler, this was his response:
"Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now, there are 3 million drug addicts. ... I'd be happy to slaughter them," he told reporters. ...
"You know my victims, I would like to be, all criminals, to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition," he said.
To President Barack Obama: 'Putang ina'
In early September, Duterte and President Obama were scheduled to hold bilateral talks at a regional summit in Laos. But before the meeting, Obama did not rule out the possibility that he would talk about due-process rights with Duterte.
This did not please Duterte, who used a Tagalog phrase that means "son of a whore" in threatening to curse Obama if he raised the extrajudicial killings. The American delegation promptly canceled the meeting, though the two did shake hands on the sideline of the summit.
Obama's response? "Clearly, he's a colorful guy."
To the E.U.: The middle finger
Same story, different object of Duterte's obscenities.
When the European Union told him to "put an end" to the killings, Duterte did not hold back:
"I have read the condemnation of the European Union. I'm telling them, 'F--- you,' " Duterte said in a mix of Filipino and English.
"I repeat it, 'F--- you!' " said Duterte as he assumed a deadpan look, raised his right hand and unfurled his middle finger. The audience applauded.
To Pope Francis: 'Pope, son of a whore, go home.'
The pope's 2015 visit to Manila caused significant traffic jams, apparently so bad that Duterte said he felt like calling the Catholic leader to say, “Pope, son of a whore, go home. Don’t visit anymore.”
He later apologized and said he was planning a trip to Rome to “explain to the pope and ask for forgiveness.” The trip was later canceled.
About a gang rape victim: Wishes he had 'been first'
While he was campaigning to be president in April, the candidate remarked on a lay minister who in 1989 was gang-raped and killed during a hostage situation at a jail while Duterte was mayor of Davao city.
“I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first," he said. "What a waste.”
About a senator investigating killings: 'Screwing her driver'
Philippine Sen. Leila de Lima, a longtime Duterte critic, was investigating the wave of extrajudicial killings when she was swiftly removed from the committee leading the probe.
Her inquiry into the killings prompted Duterte to pounce on rumors about her personal life, including allegations that she was having an affair with her driver.
"She was not only screwing her driver, she was screwing the nation," he said, before suggesting later that she commit suicide.