Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte once told President Obama to “go to hell.” But during his call with President-elect Trump last week, he said he was invited to Washington and Mr. Trump “wished him well” in the violent drug crackdown that has been condemned by the Obama administration.
Since his election, Trump has spoken with leaders in 42 countries. A CBS News analysis of his financial disclosures found that in more than one third, Trump and his children have business or hope to expand their business.
In the Philippines, for example, Trump was paid as much as $5 million dollars to brand his name on Trump Tower Manila, set to open next year.
Duterte even named Trump business partner Jose Antonio as a special envoy to the U.S, potentially giving the Philippines an edge in foreign affairs, even with Trump’s children running the family business.
“Trump exemplifies the best qualities of real estate anywhere in the world,” Antonio said in a 2011 promotional video.
“A perception is sometimes as damaging as the conflict itself,” said Nicholas Burns, a former ambassador who teaches at Harvard.
“Our president needs to be free of any constraints whatsoever that might inhibit him from making the best possible decision on behalf of the American people and the United States government,” Burns said.
Trump’s business ties to the Philippines are not illegal because there are no laws governing conflicts of interest for the president or vice president.
A new poll shows that a majority of Americans are confident Trump will put the country’s best interests ahead of his family’s finances.