US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has spoken out on President Rodrigo Duterte’s series of anti-American tirades, with the real estate mogul seizing on the remarks to criticize the Obama administration’s foreign policy.
In an exclusive interview with the Reuters news agency, Trump said Obama was too focused on his golf game to take time to get along with other leaders.
“It’s a horrible thing that the United States is reduced to being thrown out of a country,” Trump told Reuters following Duterte’s repeated pronouncements of ending joint exercises and naval patrols between the US and Philippine militaries.
Trump also took note of Duterte’s bid to strengthen ties with China, with which the Philippines disputes the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“He probably made a deal with China. Because he left for China and he’s dealing with China and Russia so he probably made a deal with China and Russia,” Trump said.
The Philippines, he pointed out “is one of the truly most important strategic locations anywhere in the world.
“People don’t realize how important strategically the Philippines are.”
In Beijing last week, Duterte announced his “separation” from the US in terms of economic and military cooperation, and later clarified that this meant a separation of foreign policy, not diplomatic ties.
Trump and rival Hillary Clinton staged dueling rallies Tuesday in crucial battleground Florida, with the Republican billionaire zeroing in on the Obamacare health overhaul as a job-killing, wallet-busting “monster.”
With just two weeks before the November 8 election, polls showed Democrat Clinton – who is vying to become America’s first female president – dominating nationally and looking for a resounding mandate to govern the bitterly divided country.
Early voting began in Florida on Monday, an urgent reminder that candidates have little time left to make their case in the country’s third most populous state, one with a wide mix of constituencies, including numerous retirees, Latinos and Bible Belt whites.
The Republican nominee, determined to ride out the controversies hobbling his campaign, made a pitch to Florida’s elderly voters by assailing a sharp rise in health insurance premiums expected next year under President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform.