Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said Friday he aspired to accomplish in his country the level of mass murder Adolf Hitler achieved, saying, “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now there’s 3 million, there’s 3 million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
Hitler, in fact, killed 6 million Jews. That doesn’t make Duterte’s comments any less distressing, coming as they do after several controversial remarks since before he was elected president earlier this year. Duterte took office at the end of June, and he’s made his feelings about drug addicts well known. He ran on a campaign promise to wage war on crime and drugs, and in his first few months in office, more than 3,500 Filipinos have been killed, many in extrajudicial slayings. But striving to embody history’s most-reviled mass murderer has earned Duterte more critics and renewed repudiation.
“At least if Germany had Hitler,” Duterte said Friday, “the Philippines would have …” and here he trailed off and pointed at himself.
Phil Robertson, Asia deputy director for Human Rights Watch, asked rhetorically: “Does he want to be sent to the international criminal court? Because he’s working his way there.”
Ronald Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, told CNN, “These statements are revolting, and President Duterte must retract them and apologize.”