Everyone thinks they can do an impression of Donald Trump because Trump himself always seems to be doing one, from his gruff but oddly high and nasal voice, to the creepy way he moves his mouth, constantly pushing his lips together in a tight, often gross oval. The two most popular Trump impressions have been on Saturday Night Live, where the transition from Darrell Hammond’s buffoonish Trump to Alec Baldwin’s thuggish one mirrored a change in thinking about Trump on the left—almost overnight, he went from being a joke to a threat. (Anthony Atamanuik’s Trump is my favorite, but calling it an impression is a bit of a stretch.)
On Wednesday Philippine strongman/president/Trump’s id Rodrigo Duterte unveiled his Trump impression. Suggesting he may have a finer and subtler grasp on irony than previously imagined, he regaled a conference at the U.N. Convention Against Corruption with his take on a recent conversation he had with Trump.
This is a horrible Trump impression. Duterte does what many comedians do with Trump—ramp up his vulgarity, in this case by cursing a lot—but he makes no effort to get the voice or the mannerisms right. The substance of what he had to say, though, is interesting. “Oh, President Duterte,” Duterte says, speaking as Trump. “We should fix our bad relations. It needs a lot of, y’know, you just said something good here. And you’re doing great. I know what’s your worry about these Americans criticizing you. You are doing good. Go ahead. I have this problem on the border of Mexico and America and these goddamn shit guys are [unintelligible]. ... Maybe you can give me a suggestion, one or two, how to solve this goddamn bullshit son of a bitch.” If this is what Trump said to Duterte it makes almost no sense.
Duterte’s Trump impression did not address Trump’s alleged support for the ongoing, Duterte-instigated massacre of thousands of Filipino citizens.