Duterte imitates Trump, praises US leader for being 'pragmatic'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2017 02:12 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte and US President Donald Trump.

President Rodrigo Duterte offered his praise for Donald Trump in front of a Filipino community in Doha, Qatar, on Saturday, arguing that the US president is a "pragmatic thinker" whose blunt style in dealing with the media and critics is similar to his. 

In his speech, Duterte reasoned that Trump is smarter than people give him credit for, citing the American leader's business empire. 

"Alam ninyo, Trump is a realist (and) a pragmatic thinker," said Duterte, who, like Trump, rose to power as a populist leader. "Nakita mo iyong building niya? Paano ka maging bobo?"

He also compared their way in answering criticism, describing their unorthodox methods as "deliberate."

In his first months as the US president, Trump has drawn heat for decisions such as pushing for a ban on Muslim immigrants and for ordering the launch of dozens of Tomahawk missiles at Syria. 

Duterte, on the other hand, continues to earn the ire of human rights groups for his war on illegal drugs, in which thousands have died. 

Still speaking with the Filipino community in Qatar, the last leg in a weeklong series of states visits in the Middle East, Duterte reiterated that Trump approves of his controversial crackdown on illegal drugs. 

Putting on an American accent in trying to imitate Trump, Duterte said the US president told him that he is doing things "right."