MANILA (CBSMiami) – President Trump is wrapping up his overseas trip to Asia with perhaps his most controversial stop.
He’s in the Philippines, meeting with, among others, that nation’s president, who is often criticized by human rights activists for his violent handling of the country’s drug war.
Protestors gathered in the streets of Manila, burning signs depicting President Trump, while at times clashing with police using water cannon.
Those demonstrations were held as President Trump met with world leaders at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit.
Among the president’s meetings, a controversial one with the summit’s host, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Human rights groups accuse Duterte of overseeing a bloody drug war.
They say he’s behind the killings of thousands of drug dealers and drug users.
Duterte tells reporters, Mr. Trump has praised his strategy.
“He [Trump] said something about: ‘You know, you handle it very well,’” Duterte said.
The White House says human rights, vis a vis the drug war, did come up briefly in their meeting but Mr. Trump ignored questions about it.
Earlier in the day, President Trump met with his counterparts from Japan and Australia.
He said the focus of their meeting was the same as the focus of the entire trip, which he says he’ll expound on, Wednesday at the White House.
“It’ll be a very complete statement as to trade, as to North Korea, as to a lot of other things,” Trump said.
On trade, the president calls this a “very fruitful” trip.
He boasts of nearly $300 billion in new sales for U.S. manufacturers. The president appears to be counting non-binding agreements for potential future deals, along with some signed contracts that have been previously announced.
Back home, President Trump faced some blowback on the morning political talk show circuit from former intelligence leaders, confused by the president’s comments from earlier in the weekend.
Mr. Trump, after a brief run-in with Russian president Vladimir Putin, said he believes Putin’s claims that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 presidential election.