MANILA, Philippines — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says he will never visit the United States while he is in office, and adds that he has “seen America and it’s lousy.”
Duterte delivered his latest verbal attack on the United States after he was asked in a news conference Friday to react to a threat by a U.S. congressman, Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern, to lead a protest if Duterte accepts President Donald Trump’s invitation to visit the White House.
Duterte asked, “What makes that guy think I’m going to America?”
He added: “There will never be a time during my administration that I’ll be going to America or thereafter … I’ve seen America and it’s lousy.”
Duterte’s spokesman said in April that Trump had invited the Philippine president in a telephone call to visit the White House, sparking protests from human rights activists, who asked the American leader not to welcome a leader accused of human rights violations and of condoning extrajudicial killings.
Thousands of suspects have died in an anti-drug crackdown by Duterte. He has denied condoning extrajudicial killings, although he has repeatedly threatened drug suspects and criminals with death in public speeches.