In a statement on Saturday, the White House praised Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s deadly drug crackdown, saying President Donald Trump had a “very friendly conversation” with the outspoken Philippines leader. Suspected drug dealers in the Philippines have been targeted for death without due process by Duterte’s regime, raising red flags among human rights groups. Duterte has also bragged about personally murdering drug suspects, and was accused of running a “death squad” while he was mayor of Davao. In a readout of the phone call, the White House said Trump and Duterte “discussed the fact that the Philippine government is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs, a scourge that affects many countries throughout the world.” Trump also invited Duterte to the White House, according to the White House’s readout of the phone call. Trump has praised other leaders with authoritarian tendencies, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
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