President Spokesperson Ernesto Abella is apparently so out of touch with what’s happening in Malacañang that he had to wait for his White House counterpart to provide more details of the phone conversation between President Rodrigo Duterte and United States President Donald Trump.
Abella released his first statement on the Duterte-Trump phone call at 9:20 a.m. Sunday (April 30) which had barely any details of the previous night’s phone call between the two leaders. It was written as if Abella took his information third or fourth-hand.
“President Donald Trump called President Duterte yesterday evening. The ambit of the conversation between the two leaders includes the expression of commitment of U.S. President Trump to the PH-US alliance and his interest in developing a warm, working relationship with President Duterte. President Trump likewise mentioned that he looks forward to his visit to the Philippines in November for the East Asia Summit (EAS),” Abella said.
At 11:00 a.m. White House correspondents started tweeting Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s juicier statement on the phone call in which he revealed that Duterte and Trump and talked about the North Korea missile crisis and the Philippine war on drugs. Spicer also announced that Trump had invited Duterte for a White House visit.
Trump invited Duterte to the White House today. Also praised his efforts to "rid his country of drugs," which have seen thousands killed. pic.twitter.com/BcbFgx0voQ
— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) April 30, 2017
Trump, who congratulated Erdogan on vote that was criticized as increasing his authoritarian power, invited Duterte to the White House pic.twitter.com/4DKTDo5ILF
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 30, 2017
An hour later, Abella released a second statement with more details apparently copied from Spicer’s PR.
“Further, the discussion that transpired between the presidents was warm, with President Trump expressing his understanding and appreciation of the challenges facing the Philippine President, especially on the matter of dangerous drugs,” Abella said.
“Other topics were also touched on like that of the upcoming summit, as well as matters of regional geo-political concerns, especially on the situation in North Korea; but details understandably are not forthcoming. Moreover, there was a mention of an invitation from President Trump to President Rodrigo Duterte to visit the White House,” Abella said.