Senator John McCaine has criticized President Donald Trump for sidelining human rights during his meeting with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Human rights obviously not a priority in @POTUS’s meeting with Duterte — again, sad,” Mr McCain wrote on Twitter, co-opting one of Mr Trump’s favourite ways to express his frustration.
The tweet came after the White House indicated that the two world leaders had “briefly” discussed Mr Duterte’s drug crackdown that has left thousands of people dead in the country, and elicited accusations of human rights abuses, which Mr Duterte has denied.
Mr Duterte’s spokesman contradicted the White House, however, saying that the issue was not brought up. “There was no mention of human rights, no mention of extralegal killings,” Harry Roque said.
Mr Trump, following the meeting, said that he has a “great relationship” with Mr Duterte, and chose to focus on his own style of transactional diplomacy to discuss other issues than human rights, a stark contrast past presidents and their approach to the issue.
Mr Duterte’s spokesman said that human rights had not come up during their meeting, even as Mr Duterte discussed the “drug menace” in the Philippines.