Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is the democratically elected leader of a long-standing American ally whose strategic cooperation is important in checking China’s aggressive expansionism in the South China Sea. But he is also the author of a heinous campaign of extrajudicial killings of suspected drug traffickers and users that has led to more than 7,000 deaths since he took office last June.

A subtle U.S. policy would recognize the need for U.S.-Philippine cooperation without endorsing the contemptible offenses of the current president. Instead, President Trump has offered Duterte an unqualified embrace that effectively blesses his murderous campaign.

Trump’s endorsement of Duterte came in a statement issued after a phone call between the two Saturday. The release described the conversation as “very friendly,” adding that “the Philippine government is fighting very hard to rid its country of drugs.”

“Fighting very hard” is one way – the wrong way – to describe the wanton killing by police and vigilantes of accused dealers and users. It implies that Duterte’s tactics are appropriate or necessary, which they are not. Trump ought to have shunned Duterte until he reined in those practices. Instead, he invited him to the White House.

Trump has already hosted Egyptian strongman Abdel Fatah el-Sissi, and not long after speaking to Duterte he issued another red-carpet invitation to Thailand’s Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led a military coup against an elected government in 2014 and has since overseen a sweeping crackdown on dissent.

Even as Trump was heaping goodwill on the likes of Duterte and Prayuth, he was trashing a South Korean government that has been a critical U.S. partner. That drive-by may very well wreck the administration’s effort to bring more pressure to bear on North Korea. Meanwhile, Republicans who faulted Barack Obama for disrespecting U.S. allies while courting rogue regimes ought to ask themselves if Trump is not outdoing his predecessor.