Comments from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte comparing journalists to “Spies” drew laughter from President Trump after a reporter asked about human rights in the Philippines.
“We’ve had a great relationship,” said Trump. “We would be talking on matters that are of interest of both the Philippines and. With you around, guys,” he added, gesturing to the reporters, “You are the spies.” Trump proceeded to laugh.
Prior to Trump’s visit to the Philippines, Duterte told reporters he had no plans to answer U.S. questions about human rights in the country. Trump has repeatedly accused the media of fabricating “Fake news” in an effort to undercut his administration, calling coverage “Dishonest” and singling out reporters for chastisement. While in China last week, Trump declined to take questions from reporters, breaking with decades of precedent: U.S. presidents typically insist on taking questions in order to make a point about free speech.