It was news when President Donald Trump invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for an official visit to the U.S. Now, the volatile Filipino is playing hard to get.
While speaking to reporters this week, Duterte said that he might be “tied up,” and might not be able to make the visit. “I cannot make any definite promise,” Mr. Duterte said citing upcoming visits to Israel and Russia.
Trump’s outreach drew a negative response from human-rights groups, but the Philippine President remains very popular in his home country with his approval ratings hovering near 80%.
Duterte, who called former President Barack Obama a “son of a whore,” noted that the Philippines relationship with the U.S. has changed for the better. He said, “Things have changed. There’s a new leadership.”
New York Magazine reported that Trump has responded with kind words about Duterte:
The Philippines is very important to me strategically and militarily. I look forward to meeting him. If he comes to the White House, that’s fine. You know he’s very popular in the Philippines.