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Tapper on Trump/Duterte: Remember When Presidents Didn’t Laugh About Freedom of the Press?

On the final leg of his nearly two-week Asia tour, President Donald Trump met with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. Prior to a meeting between the two men, Duterte referred to the members of the media that were present as “spies,” causing Trump to burst out into laughter. After Trump thanked Duterte for the way he had “treated all of us,” the Filipino leader asked the press to “leave us alone.”

On this afternoon’s broadcast of The Lead, CNN anchor Jake Tapper took issue with Trump’s cavalier attitude towards Duterte’s remarks, especially considering how Duterte has justified the killing of reporters in the past.

“That’s the guy who made President Trump chuckle when he called US journalists spies,” Tapper noted after highlighting Duterte’s terrible human rights record.

The CNN host explained that the president laughing at Duterte’s media attack was reminiscent of Trump celebrating the Emir of Kuwait taking shots at the press during a joint press conference a couple of months ago. At that time, Trump said he was “honored and happy” that the monarch had “problems with the media.”

“We don’t know what at that moment was in the head of the Emir of Kuwait, where journalists are jailed or exiled for what they write or what Philippine authoritarian Rodrigo Duterte thought when the president laughed at his joke,” Tapper stated. “But we do remember when American presidents thought the principles of free speech and freedom of the press were not a laughing matter.”

Watch the clip above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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