In a rambling speech accusing the United States and the European Union of “hypocrisy,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte compared himself to German Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, saying he would be “happy to slaughter” as many “drug addicts” as Hitler massacred Jewish people.
Duterte began his remarks in a speech on Friday condemning those who compare him to Hitler because of the sprawling anti-drug campaign his government is waging, which has resulted in 3,300 deaths and counting since Duterte assumed office on June 30.
“You are portrayed or pictured to be some, a cousin of Hitler. And you do not even bother to find out, to investigate. Imagine that, I will be facing … and even the international court for genocide. That’s foolish,” he argued, implying that those who have criticized his “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to law enforcement have compared him to Hitler. Duterte appeared to take that comparison favorably.
“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now there is three million, what is it? Three million drug addict [sic], there are. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he argued.
Hitler’s Nazi Germany is estimated to have killed more than twice that number, with a consensus of historians placing the Jewish Holocaust death count at six million, and the total killed by Nazis at eleven million.
In the speech, Duterte also accused American and EU officials of “hypocrisy” and demanded Western officials do more to save the lives of Middle Eastern migrants attempting to reach Europe.
Duterte’s remarks were intended to address a visit to nearby Vietnam, which the president had just concluded.
Jewish community leaders have condemned Duterte’s remarks. “These statements are revolting, and President Duterte must retract them and apologize,” the president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, said Friday.
Duterte has rapidly built up a reputation internationally for making offensive statements. He has repeatedly insulted American officials, calling American Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg an “annoying … homosexual” and President Barack Obama a “son of a whore.” In response to a European Union statement expressing deep concern about the Philippine drug war and extreme loss of life, Duterte said, “Fuck you.”
Duterte’s insults towards the United States on Friday came mere hours after Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter asserted that Philippine-U.S. relations were going well. “As it has been for decades, our alliance with the Philippines is ironclad,” Carter said on Thursday, noting that Washington was “supporting the modernization of the Philippine Armed Forces.”
Duterte has increasingly made overtures to China and Russia, while urging American officials to back away from the Philippines. He has urged American troops to leave the southern island of Mindanao, home to multiple Islamist terror group, including the Islamic State affiliate Abu Sayyaf.