Donald Trump has vowed to make it a priority to embrace Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and improve relations with his country, despite Duterte’s record of being a lawless demagogue who can’t get along with anyone. Trump appears to be embracing Duterte – and quickly called him after the election – simply because Duterte dislikes President Barack Obama. But now Trump has a problem – because Rodrigo Duterte is suddenly confessing to a history of drug addiction.
As the political pressure mounts against the controversial Duterte within the Philippines, he attempted to stave off accusations about his health. But he did so by announced that he’s no longer abusing the extraordinarily powerful painkiller fentanyl, a highly addictive drug which can be up to a hundred times more powerful than morphine. There are a number of legitimate uses for fentanyl in certain situations. But according to a new Yahoo News report, Duterte is admitting that he was “abusing the drug” and that he only gave it up after his doctor forced him to.
While there is nothing shameful about being a recovering drug addict in and of itself, the specific circumstances of this situation are embarrassing for both Rodrigo Duterte and Donald Trump. Duterte has launched a drug war that’s become so lawless that police (and even civilians) are now allowed to shoot and kill anyone they personally suspect of being a drug dealer. It’s created a landscape just shy of a horror movie like The Purge.
And yet, even as Duterte pushes an extra-legal war on drugs, he’s now acknowledging that he’s a recovering drug addict himself. Even as other Philippines political leaders are increasingly questioning Duterte’s health, Donald Trump has embraced Duterte at a time when he’s looking to take office without having ever disclosed his own health records. And while it’s never been proven, many Americans have openly asked if the sniffling, jittery Trump is a drug addict himself.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report