The Cable

Watch Philippine President Duterte Try Out His Best Donald Trump Impersonation

It’s not great.


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte didn’t exactly get off to a strong start with President Barack Obama by calling him the “son of a whore.” But he’s off to a seemingly great start with incoming President-elect Donald Trump — the two have traded compliments and invitations — and now Duterte is taking it to the next level.

Speaking at the presidential palace during a U.N. forum, Duterte played back his Dec. 2 phone call with the president-elect in his best Trump voice. According to Duterte, the two leaders’ call included the following highlights:

“‘We should fix our bad relations. It needs a lot of, y’know, you just said something good here. And you’re doing great. I know, what’s your worry about these Americans criticizing you,’” Duterte said, impersonating Trump. “‘You are doing good. Go ahead. I have this problem on the border of Mexico and America and these goddamn s*** guys are [unintelligible].’”

Duterte also said the two bonded over winning elections despite having what he called no media support. And, of course, the president-elect invited the Filipino leader for a coffee the next time he found himself in New York or Washington.  

“‘Oh yes, when you come to Washington D.C. or New York City, look me up and we’ll have coffee,’” Duterte recounted in his Trump voice. “‘Maybe you can give me a suggestion, one or two, how to solve this goddamn bulls*** son of a bitch.’” Lovely.

Watch Duterte’s full Oscar-worthy performance below.

The Trump-Duterte rapprochement may bode well for the struggling U.S.-Philippine relationship. Besides calling Obama  (and Pope Francis) a “son of a whore,” the firebrand caught a lot of international flak for his controversial drug war that has killed thousands and for turning his back on the U.S.-Philippines military relationship in favor of China. Trump received a volley of criticism himself after apparently endorsing Duterte’s drug war — a war entailing violent extrajudicial killings that the Obama Administration sharply rebukes.

On the plus side, Duterte will have at least four years to perfect his Trump impersonation, which, let’s be honest, could use a little bit of work. Unlike Duterte’s amazing karaoke skills.

Photo credit: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy@RobbieGramer

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