Philippines president calls US ambassador ‘gay,’ ‘son of a whore’

Philippines president calls US ambassador ‘gay,’ ‘son of a whore’
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The president of the Philippines last week called the U.S. ambassador to Manila “gay” and a “son of a whore,” prompting a stern State Department meeting with the Asian nation’s top diplomat in Washington.

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Days after Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryThe continuous whipsawing of climate change policy Budowsky: United Democrats and Biden's New Deal Overnight Energy: 600K clean energy jobs lost during pandemic, report finds | Democrats target diseases spread by wildlife | Energy Dept. to buy 1M barrels of oil MORE visited the Philippines, a longtime ally of the U.S., President Rodrigo Duterte took to national television to insult Ambassador Philip Goldberg.

"As you know, I'm fighting with [Kerry’s] ambassador. His gay ambassador, the son of a whore,” Duterte said in Tagalog, a major language of the Philippines, according to Agence France-Presse. “He pissed me off.

“He meddled during the elections, giving statements here and there. He was not supposed to do that.”

The comment sparked a diplomatic crisis.

In response, the State Department this week summoned Philippine charge d’affaires Patrick Chuasoto to discuss Duterte's remarks.

“What we were seeking is perhaps a better understanding of why that statement was made,” department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday.

“We had that conversation.”

The department is not considering financial penalties or other mechanisms to punish the Philippines, Trudeau added.

The episode is the most public rift between the U.S. and Philippines since Duterte took office this year. The firebrand 71-year-old president has captured headlines for tough and violent rhetoric, such as urging the public to kill drug dealers and criminals who put up a fight. The comments have earned him comparisons to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE, the Republican nominee for president.

Goldberg had previously criticized Duterte’s campaign trail comments about appearing to bemoan the fact that he was not able to rape an Australian missionary who was assaulted and killed in 1989 while in prison in Davao, where Duterte was the mayor at the time.

“She was so beautiful. I think the mayor should have been first. What a waste,” he said in a video unearthed during the campaign.

Goldberg is a longtime U.S. diplomat who has previously served as ambassador to Bolivia, among multiple other posts.  

The Philippines is a former U.S. colony and a lynchpin of the Obama administration’s efforts to reassert America’s role in the Pacific, especially on the military front. 

Kerry met with Duterte and other Filipino leaders in Manila on July 27 in a visit that was dominated by efforts to counter China’s efforts in the South China Sea.