Wednesday, December 7, 2016

What did Donald Trump do today?

He forced the Obama White House to issue a statement clarifying that the United States is opposed to the epidemic of vigilante murders in the Philippines.

The statement was provoked by an interview with Trump published today by Time, which just named Trump its "Person of the Year." In it, Trump seemed unbothered by comparisons to Duterte, an authoritarian who has actively encouraged the murder of thousands of Filipinos suspected by their fellow citizens of being connected with the drug trade. 

Instead, Trump used the reference to Duterte's campaign against drug dealers to bring up the topic of supposedly super-tough Central American immigrants who were "killing and raping everybody out there."

Trump has also refused to deny Duterte's claims that Trump endorses his actions. Last week, he invited Duterte to make a state visit during Trump's term.

Why should anyone care about this?

  • It's bad if presidents don't mind being compared to brutal authoritarians.
  • It's very bad if it's not abundantly clear how a president feels about mass-murder campaigns.