Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to “burn down the United Nations” in the same week he declared that, “for every five Americans, three are idiots,” following global condemnations of his claim that he liked to drive around his native Davao City and kill people during his tenure as mayor.
“The problem with these white people,” Duterte told an audience in mixed English and Tagalog Thursday, “these American blockheads, is that for every five Americans, three out of five are idiots, and only two are in their right minds.”
“You Americans should just shut up,” he added, according to Philippine TV outlet ABS-CBN.
Duterte once again threatened to “kill you,” speaking to those who traffic drugs.
Duterte appeared to be responding to criticism from international human rights organizations and the United Nations regarding comments he made last week, in which he claimed to have personally driven around Davao City, where he served as mayor for 22 years, and killed people.
“I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike, around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill,” Duterte claimed.
“The killings committed by Mr. Duterte, by his own admission… clearly constitute murder,” Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said this week, calling for an open investigation into his claims.
Duterte responded by threatening an act of terrorism against the UN headquarters in New York.
“You go and file a complaint in the United Nations. I will burn down the United Nations if you want. I will burn it down if I go to America,” Duterte warned in a separate speech quoted by the Philippine Inquirer.
Duterte has previously promised to “whack in the head” any United Nations observers that may seek more information on police extrajudicial killings of drug suspects under his rule.
Duterte’s tone against both the United States and United Nations has remained consistently belligerent since he took office in June, though he appeared to soften at the prospect of a President-elect Donald Trump, who he remarked he felt closer to than the incumbent president Barack Obama. “We both curse. For any small reason, we curse. We are kind of similar,” he said following Trump’s election, adding, “I don’t want to fight because Trump is there.”
Duterte’s language has nonetheless remained aggressive towards the United States, particularly in light of his increasingly warm relationship with China. Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced earlier this week that, rather than rebuke Duterte for his increasingly bloody war on drug traffickers, China has agreed to provide Manila with $14.4 million in equipment for police engaging in anti-drug operations, including “small arms, boats, and night vision goggles.”
“They want to help us fight terrorism and drugs. They will help the president,” Lorenzana asserted. Duterte had previously promised not to conduct Coast Guard operations in Philippine waters that China illegally claims as its own and put aside the international legal ruling that renders China’s claims officially illegal.
That announcement followed confirmation from the American Millennium Challenge Corporation that they would be reviewing the Philippines’ human rights record before offering more funding. To this announcement, Duterte replied, “Shut up, shut up,” Duterte insisted. “I do not need your assistance. Millennium Challenge, 400 million? China is going to release to me 50 billion. Go home, I do not need your aid.”