Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte received swift backlash Friday for likening himself to Adolf Hitler.
After arriving in Davao City, his hometown where he was once mayor, Duterte gave a rambling speech telling reporters he had been “portrayed to be a cousin of Hitler” by critics, Reuters reported.
After incorrectly noting that Hitler murdered 3 million Jews (scholars estimate about 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust), Duterte made a connection to his own war on drugs.
“There are 3 million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he said.
Duterte did not stop there.
“If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…” Duterte said, then paused and pointed to himself, Reuters reported.
“You know my victims. I would like [them] to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” Duterte said.
His comments inspired international backlash.
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder condemned Duterte’s remarks calling them “revolting” and demanded a retraction and apology.
“Drug abuse is a serious issue,” he said. “What President Duterte said is not only profoundly inhumane, but it demonstrates an appalling disrespect for human life that is truly heart-breaking for the democratically elected leader of a great country.”
The German government also admonished the president of the Philippines for his comments.
“It is impossible to make any comparison to the unique atrocities of the Shoah and Holocaust,” the German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said in Berlin, according to the Associated Press.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Manila told the New York Times the U.S. will continue to work with the Philippines to uphold democratic values.
The AP reports that since taking power on June 30, more than 3,000 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed in Duterte’s crackdown and nearly 700,000 have surrendered to the government.