Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte used former U.S. President Bill Clinton's impeachment scandal to respond to criticism from former first daughter Chelsea Clinton.
During an address to the Philippines Navy May 31, Duterte brought up Mr. Clinton's involvement with White House intern Monica Lewinsky in response to Chelsea's criticism of a rape joke Duterte made during a speech after declaring martial law in the Southern Philippines, according to The Washington Post.
"When your father, the President of the United States, was screwing Lewinsky and the girls there in the White House, how did you feel? Did you slam your father?" asked Duterte. Chelsea had slammed Duterte for a recent comment about soldiers raping women in areas controlled by martial law.
Chelsea responded on Twitter, saying: "Not funny. Ever," and then commented further that "Duterte is a murderous thug with no regard for human rights. It's important to keep pointing that out & that rape is never a joke."
During a speech to soldiers regarding the recent backlash at martial law instated at Mindanao Island, Duterte reassured soldiers that he would take the brunt of the criticism, even going so far as to suggest that they could get away with just about anything while he was in office.
"I will be imprisoned for you," Duterte said. "If you rape three [women], I will say that I did it."
Duterte argued May 31 that he was not joking, but rather was being sarcastic, according to the Washington Examiner.
Duterte is well-known as a political firebrand who does not shy away from making taboo jokes and routinely shuns delicate language for more deliberate word choices. Duterte has recently authorized the killings of drug offenders in the country, a tactic which has drawn ire from Western diplomats.
"He knows how to dish out hot copy and like any political pro, keep the crowd entertained. This makes him go viral, and at the heart of it, he is doubling down whenever he feels someone is trying to go mano-a-mano," Philippines political columnist Manuel L. Quezon III told The Washington Post.
"He considers himself friends with [President Donald Trump] and has said so because Trump has never raised the issue that infuriated him about Obama: human rights.”
Trump recently said in a phone call to Duterte that Duterte was doing an "unbelievable job" in controlling the drug problem in the Philippines. Since Duterte launched the drug war in 2016, thousands of people have been killed and the regime has been accused of human rights abuses.
Sources: The Washington Post, Washington Examiner / Photo credit: Presidential Communications Operations Office via Wikimedia Commons