Philippines President Duterte Apologizes to Obama for Calling Him the “Son of a Whore”

Tuesday in Laos, where President Obama is attending a summit of Southeast Asian leaders, a representative for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte read a statement expressing regret over words Duterte used at a Monday press conference describing the U.S. president’s mother:

“While the immediate cause was my strong comments to certain press questions that elicited concern and distress, we also regret it came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president. Our primary intention is to chart an independent foreign policy while promoting closer ties with all nations, especially the U.S. with which we have had a long-standing partnership.”

Duterte had a day before threatened to swear at Obama should he lecture him on the Philippine president’s ongoing policy of executing thousands of drug dealers; during the tirade, Duterte called Obama a “son of a whore.”

While Obama shrugged off the insult during a media Q&A later in the day, the White House pulled the plug on the President’s scheduled one-on-one meeting with Duterte.

The tough-talking Duterte has been in office for less than three months and has already authorized the execution of more than 2,000 drug-related criminals in his country, arousing concern among human rights groups and other nations.

Obama and Duterte may still interact more informally during the two-day summit in Laos, but there is slim chance Obama will be granting extended face-time to the controversial Philippine president.

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