Trump Extends White House Invite to Philippine Leader Who Called Obama 'Son of a Bitch'

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the inauguration of a drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation center north of Manila, Philippines, November 29, 2016.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the inauguration of a drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation center north of Manila, Philippines, November 29, 2016.Credit: Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke on the phone on Friday with Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte and invited him to visit the White House next year during a "very engaging, animated" talk, an aide to Duterte said. 

The call lasted just over seven minutes, Duterte's special adviser, Christopher Go, said in a text message to media.

Go, Duterte's longtime aide and better known as "Bong Go", said the Philippines president had invited Trump to come to his country next year when it is chair of a series of summits of the Association of South East Asian Nations.

The invitation is a marked change from official U.S. policy following the souring of relations between Manila and Washington.

In September, Duterte called U.S. President Barack Obama a "son of a bitch" when he warned the leader not to question him about extrajudicial killings. Speaking at a G20 meeting in China, Obama responded to Duterte's statement: "Clearly he's a colorful guy." 

In a second incident, Duterte told Obama in October to "go to hell" over criticism of his deadly anti-drug campaign.

Duterte, who took office in June, has been hypersensitive to criticisms over his anti-drug fight, which has left more than an estimated 3,000 suspected drug dealers and pushers dead in just three months, alarming the United Nations, the EU, the U.S. and human rights watchdogs.

The controversial leader appeared to liken himself to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in September and said he would "be happy" to exterminate three million drug users and peddlers in the country. 

"If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have...," he said, pausing and pointing to himself.  

Duterte later apologized to Jews worldwide after his remarks sparked shock and outrage, with Israel's Foreign Ministry saying it's "unfortunate" that Duterte chose to invoke Hitler. Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that Israel is convinced the Philippine president "will find a way to clarify his words."

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