Manila, Philippines : President Trump, in Manila, on Monday, at the opening ceremony of the summit for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – the last leg of his tour of five Asian nations- set social media abuzz with his grimace in the group photo with world leaders.
Trump initially struggled during a group photo with world leaders ahead of a one-on-one meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
The world leaders posed for a photo, with Trump standing next to Duterte.
Each leader placed his right hand over his left hand as part of the customary ASEAN handshake. Trump had a “false start” with the handshake before doing it properly, according to the pool report.
From the Twitterverse:
good luck to whoever has three weeks to get this regional production of Mamma Mia! into shape : Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) November 13, 2017
This is what peak performance looks like : j.r. hennessy (@jrhennessy) November 13, 2017
What. The. Hell. Is. Happening: Emily C. Singer (@CahnEmily) November 13, 2017
Truck face : h. jon benjamin (@HJBenjamin) November 13, 2017
President Trump only briefly touched on the question of human rights with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has waged a deadly extra-judicial war on drugs that has left thousands dead.
Duterte, who just days before had boasted of killing someone as a teenager “just over a look” and once called President Obama a “son of a whore” for criticizing his bloody crackdown on drug dealers and users, which human rights activists say has killed more than 13,000 people.
As mayor of Davao, Duterte said he personally killed suspected criminals while out cruising on his motorcycle. And, he has compared his war on drugs to the Holocaust and said he would “slaughter addicts.”
Duterte took the stage for an impromptu duet with local pop star Pilitia Corrales, which he later said he had done “upon the orders of the commander-in-chief of the United States.”
The song’s title which translates from Tagalog as “You” and contains the verse: “You are the light in my world, a half of this heart of mine.”
In remarks to the media at a bilateral meeting between the two leaders, Duterte joked about reporters being “spies,” a remark that elicited a chuckle from Trump.
The two leaders have “a great relationship,” Trump said.
“The ASEAN conference has been handled beautifully by the president of the Philippines and your representatives. I’ve really enjoyed being here,” he said.
“Last night’s event was fantastic. Tremendous talent. Most of it, I guess, from the Philippines. But tremendous talent, musical talent, dance talent. We really had a tremendous time, all of the leaders,” he said.
Asked by reporters whether he had raised the topic of human rights with Duterte, Trump did not answer: “Whoa, whoa,” Duterte said. “This not a press statement. This is the bilateral meeting.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that the bilateral conversation between the two leaders focused on the Islamic State, illegal drugs, and trade. She said human rights briefly came up in the context of the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign.
However, Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, told reporters in Manila that the issue of human rights was not discussed even as the Philippine leader explained his anti-drug policy at length to Trump, who “seemed to be appreciative of his efforts.”
“There was no mention of human rights, no mention of extra-legal killings,” Harry Roque, a spokesman for Duterte, said, according to news outlets.
Trump’s stop in the Philippines for the ASEAN summit, with its 11 regional member-nations, follows his attendance at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Danang, Vietnam, where he delivered a speech harshly critical of the trade imbalance between the United States and many of the other nations in what the administration describes as the Indo-Pacific region.
The ASEAN summit in Manila will be the cap-off to Trump’s 13-day tour of Asia, which also saw him meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.