The Philippines’ foul-mouthed president seems to think a kindred spirit has just been elected to sit in the White House.
Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday delivered one of the most colorful welcomes yet to Donald Trump, calling him a fellow aficionado of swearing and someone not to be trifled with.
“I would like to congratulate Mr. Donald Trump. Long live,” he said in a speech to the Filipino community during a visit to Malaysia, according to wire reports. “We both curse for the slightest reason. We are alike.”
Duterte has famously cursed the pope, used a slang term that translates as “son of a whore” in denouncing President Obama and told the U.S. president to “go to hell.”
Duterte’s outspoken style and claim to have risen to power from outside the political establishment have often garnered him comparisons to Trump. It appears he sees in the new U.S. president-elect someone he can respect.
“I don’t want to quarrel anymore, because Trump has won,” he said.
Last month, Duterte declared that God had given him a message as he was flying back from Japan, telling him to stop swearing — but he later retracted those comments, saying he was only joking.
Duterte has been extremely sensitive to criticism from the United States about his crackdown on illegal drug users, which allegedly has involved large numbers of extrajudicial executions.
Partly as a result, he dramatically announced his “separation” from the United States last month and his embrace of China.
Duterte told Filipinos on Wednesday how angry he had been at Washington, saying the United States had threatened to cut off aid and had treated the Philippines like a dog tied to a post, Reuters reported.
“They talk as if we are still the colonies,” he said. “You do not give us the aid, s---, to hell with you,” he said, recalling comments he had directed at Obama.
Philippine officials said Wednesday that Duterte has decided to reduce the number of joint military exercises with the United States, according to the Associated Press.
But it is not clear whether Duterte will ultimately get along any better with Trump than he has with Obama.
Last month, Trump told Reuters that the Philippines was a very important strategic location and that Duterte’s comments about removing foreign troops showed “a lack of respect for our country.”