While the people of the United States were watching democracy enter a new phase of “awesome” in late 2016, citizens of the Philippines were already six months deep into the administration of a man who’s bragging about recreating the Holocaust.
A lot has been made of the similarities between the President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, and our own orange-person-in-charge, Donald Trump. Both world leaders (sigh) have a reputation for fiery rhetoric and larger-than-life personalities, both men have won acclaim (to varying degrees) for being soul-crushing reactionaries, and both men know their way around some social media strategy.
The link between Trump and Duterte is so pronounced that the president of the Philippines has been called “the Trump of the East.”
Is that true, though? Is Rodrigo Duterte a self-styled crazy b-hole in the mold of our president? Or is the president playing catch up to an insane person on his own place of existence? Both men have control of a nation, but which one will inevitably harness his superior insanity to run things straight into the ground?
Let’s find out with another round of Battle of the Crazies!
On the Benefits of Social Media
Any semi-conscious citizen of the United States knows that the president loves himself some social media. Cottage industries have been built repeating (and disproving) the endless piles of junk Donald Trump tweets out while he’s sitting on the john. Of course, Trump says that he uses Twitter as a means to combat the corrupt Fake News Media like CNN, The New York Times, and, you know, anyone who dares to disagree with him and/or rely on facts.
Though he’s not big on tweeting every thought that springs to his pea-sized little brain Rodrigo Duterte still understands the value of utilizing social media to great effect. While running for office, Duterte spent $200,000 or P10 million to hire more than 400 cyber trolls whose sole job was to post pro-Duterte social media posts and verbally harass anyone who voiced opposition.
Advantage Duterte. Trump is a loudmouth who can’t keep his finger off the Tweet button, but he hasn’t yet gone so far as to hire an army of people with a mission to incite fear in anyone who might disagree with him. Yet.
On the Merits of Truthfulness
In the United States, people tend to think that their leader has the market cornered when it comes to being a gaseous windbag, but Rodrigo Duterte is doing his best to lie his way to the top.
Like our own President, Duterte has a reputation for lying about his wealth. The only difference is that Duterte lies the other direction, telling crowds of impoverished Filipinos that he’s mad poor. The truth is, he’s a millionaire who inherited a family fortune (a fact that Duterte will happily fess up to when he’s surrounded by other rich people).
Duterte is also known to pepper in fabrications when he attacks rival politicians, like the time he accused Senator Leila de Lima of funding her campaign with funds filched from the national penitentiary.
Duterte’s lies are damning hurtful, but when you compare them to Donald Trump’s preternatural ability to lie, the president of the Philippines looks like a pretender. Case in point: on Sunday, May 20, President Trump lied 11 times in 5 consecutive tweets released over the course of an hour. Here’s one:
The thing is, the Mueller investigation has cost around $7 million, not $20 million, none of the team have worked for Obama for eight years except Mueller, who was appointed to a ten-year term by George W. Bush (so Obama just kept him around). No more than nine of the sixteen (not thirteen) investigators are Dems, and the two most significant political contributors on the team are Republicans. And finally, Mueller’s findings haven’t gone public, which means that evidence of conspiracy may very well exist.
That is four massive lies in 280 characters. Duterte can’t touch that.
Advantage Trump. Duterte is very dishonest indeed, but when compared to Trump he’s a rank amateur. Duterte peppers his speeches with lies and hate speech. Trump, meanwhile, crafts hate speech from his lies. The President of the United States is an Olympic-level bullshit artist.
Duterte is building his skill, but he’s got decades of obfuscation to go before he can hang with Trump.
On Helping Addicts Overcome Addiction
In the eighteen months since he took office, Trump has been occupied failing to undo the Affordable Care Act, rounding up immigrants who have been contributing to society for years, and alienating the United States from the rest of the world. It’s a busy schedule, so he hasn’t had much time to address America’s growing opioid problem.
Fortunately, Trump just fell back on the wildly successful strategy known as the “war on drugs.” The President wants to increase mandatory sentences for drug possession and crack down on smuggling across borders.
Don’t worry, though, because the plan is, like, inherently designed to mostly imprison people of color. Because that’s been so successful in the past.
Duterte has his own plan to help people recover from addiction. He’s going to kill the crap out of them. It was literally one of his platforms: I will murder druggies. Now that he’s in power, Duterte has proudly compared himself to Hitler, saying “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
Moving past the fact that Hitler killed six million Jews, not three, the point is that Duterte is bragging about (and shooting for) an event on par with the Holocaust. And he’s actively working toward that goal. He suggested jobless Filipinos roam around their town murdering drug addicts like the final act of the Purge.
In the first year of his presidency, Duterte’s regime reportedly executed at least 7,000 people.
Advantage Duterte. Seriously, the man’s brain is rotting in his skull.
The Final Word
As much as Donald Trump is very likely a dishonest nutcase, when it comes to truly insane behavior, we have to give Rodrigo Duterte the edge. Trump is an enormous douche, no argument, but Rodrigo Duterte once called Pope Francis a “son of a whore.” That is a shocking level of hate. When you consider, too, that eighty-six percent of Filipinos are Roman Catholic, it’s also a bewildering level of crazy.
Still not convinced? Duterte told soldiers to shoot female rebels in the vagina. Why? Because he’s a sadistic dick, that’s why.
Duterte is nasty, he’s oppressive, and he’s eradicating thousands of people who only need some patience and rehabilitation. Not even Donald Trump can lay claim all three of those truly deranged designations.
Congratulations, Mr. Duterte, and a profuse apology — I’m so so very sorry — to the people of the Philippines.