Donald Trump’s revelation that he is going to take some time off from his golf game to meet with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte at the White House has caused quite a stir, and not because he didn’t bother to notify his own State Department.
New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow points to the obvious problems with this invitation:
So Trump has invited the man who called President Obama a "son of a whore" and our ambassador a "gay son of a whore" to the WH?! I cannot… https://t.co/mLmYNgdvXt
— Charles M. Blow (@CharlesMBlow) April 30, 2017(Continued Below)
And that’s not all of it, of course. Sure, it would be nice to have improved relations with long-time ally the Philippines. But Duterte is the guy who has been waging an extrajudicial war on his own people, killing at least 7,500 of them (three by his own hand, he claims), saying “Forget the laws on human rights.”
And like Trump, he has a dark fascination driving him: In September he compared himself to Adolf Hitler, saying just as Hitler killed millions of Jews, he’d like to kill millions of drug addicts.
Here again, as with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, is the man Donald Trump aspires to be, the role model of his would-be dictatorship if he could just do away with that pesky freedom of the press and judicial oversight.
It’s not just the morbidly creepy at play here, of course, and you don’t have to look if you follow the money at the heart of this budding quid pro quo:
Former Guantanamo prosecutor Col. Morris Davis gets down to brass tacks, asking,
“Why would @realDonaldTrump invite a murderous dictator who’s killed thousands of his own people to visit the @WhiteHouse? Count the reasons.”
And MSNBC’s Joy Reid took a shot at it too, tweeting, “Well… the murderous autocrat did geenlight a Trump condo in his capitol, and Ivanka got a modeling gig out of it so…”
Trump and his autocratic pals have more in common than childishly responding to President Barack Obama. Obama appealed to our better selves, the ideals to which we aspire as a nation; Donald Trump appeals to the lowest common denominator.
It is not as if we did not see this coming, an American foreign policy determined not by America’s best interests but by Trump profits, but it is still painful and embarrassing to watch it unfold.
And if you’re expecting Ivanka Trump to be the moderating influence on Trump that some see her to be, think again: As former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul put it,
This is really sad & embarrassing for America. Ivanka should know better even if her father does not. https://t.co/KY21aAWMnb
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) May 1, 2017
Speaking of Ivanka Trump being complicit, Donald Trump is now complicit in all the murderous and illegal acts of those dictators he so fondly embraces for love of profit.
Donald Trump and Rodrigo Duterte have a lot in common: authoritarianism, a fascination with Adolf Hitler, a disparaging view of human rights, and the love of profits. And that is a recipe that will tarnish America’s image and take her to some very dark, very unpleasant places. And I’m not talking about the kitchens of Mar-a-Lago.