State Department of State said Monday it summoned a Philippines official to explain and clarify why Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte called U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg “gay” and a “son of a bitch.”
State Department press office director Elizabeth Trudeau refused to repeat the comments Duterte made regarding Goldberg, preferring to instead just criticize them as “inappropriate.”
In fact, the reporter who brought up the issue at the briefing didn’t mention the comments explicitly either, referring to them simply as “very strong words.”
“[W]e’ve seen those inappropriate comments made about Ambassador Goldberg,” Trudeau said. “He’s a multi-time ambassador, one of our most senior U.S. diplomats. We have asked the Philippines charge to come into the State Department to clarify those remarks.”
Trudeau confirmed that an official from the Philippines had come into the State Department that same day to discuss those remarks, but Trudeau refused to disclose any further details of the conversation.
Goldberg attracted strong words from Duterte after he complained the then-presidential candidate made incredibly offensive comments. Duterte had made a joke in April about the rape and murder of Australian missionary in 1989, saying “she was so beautiful. The mayor should have been first.”
“I can only agree with the colleague from the Australian Embassy,” Goldberg said immediately. “Any statements by anyone, anywhere that either degrade women or trivialize issues so serious as rape or murder, are not ones that we condone.”
Duterte in response told Goldberg that if he didn’t “shut [his] mouth,” he might decide to cut off ties to the U.S.
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