The presidential palace in the Philippines is doing damage control in response to Duterte’s offensive Hitler statements, but it’s not really working.
“Hitler massacred three million Jews … There’s three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday.
In the aftermath, international outrage and condemnation has been poured out on the bombastic president.
Now the presidential palace is trying to de-escalate the situation. The office of the president claims that Duterte is not Hitler, does not support genocide, but does want to slaughter millions.
“The Philippines recognizes the deep significance of the Jewish experience especially their tragic and painful history. We do not wish to diminish the profound loss of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust that deep midnight of their story as a people,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Saturday.
“The President’s reference to the slaughter was an oblique deflection of the way he has been pictured as a mass murderer, a Hitler, which is a label that he rejects,” he added on a national radio show.
Critics have reportedly commented that Duterte is a “cousin of Hitler,” and the president’s inappropriate comments were in response to those comparisons. The presidential palace said that Duterte was not praising Hitler for his actions during WWII, nor was he advocating ethnic genocide.
Abella did, however, say that Duterte does, in fact, desire to kill millions of Filipinos involved with illegal drugs. He also supported extrajudicial killings, indicating that mass murder may be required to save the Philippines.
“[Duterte] draws an oblique conclusion that while the Holocaust was an attempt to exterminate the future generation of Jews, the so-called extrajudicial killings, roundly attributed to him, will nevertheless result in the salvation of the next generation of Filipinos,” Abella explained.
Duterte has yet to respond directly to criticisms of his statements, nor has the Philippines government responded to demands from international organizations and leaders for an apology.
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