While bragging about his “very strong relationship” with the Philippines on Tuesday, President Trump falsely claimed that Air Force One under former President Barack Obama “never got to land” in the country, even though Obama visited the country several times during his presidency.
“And as you know, we were having a lot of problems with the Philippines. The relationship with the past administration was horrible, to use a nice word,” Trump told reporters in Manila.
“I would say ‘horrible’ is putting it mildly. You know what happened. Many of you were there, and you never got to land. The plane came close but it didn’t land.”
Trump was referring to the time that Obama canceled a 2016 trip after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called him a “son of a bitch.”
“Clearly, he’s a colorful guy,” Obama said at the time of Duterte.
“And what I’ve instructed my team to do is to talk to their Philippine counterparts to find out is this, in fact, a time where we can have some constructive, productive conversations.”
The Hill added:
Obama had visited the Philippines on several trips earlier in his presidency, and even signed an enhanced defense cooperation agreement with the country in 2014.
Trump during his remarks to reporters on Tuesday emphasized that the United States’ relationship with the Philippines is “probably better than ever before.”
“So it’s very important that we get along with the Philippines, and we really do. We have a very good relationship. I would actually say probably better than ever before,” he said.
Human rights groups have criticized Duterte for his handling of drug problems in his country, which has included the extrajudicial killings of an estimated 9,000 people, including many small-time drug dealers and users.