Now playing
02:34
Trump, Duterte meet during ASEAN summit
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:39
Trump on North Korea: What he said in Asia
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk as they make their way to take the "family photo" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017.
World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JORGE SILVA        (Photo credit should read JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin talk as they make their way to take the "family photo" during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders' summit in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 11, 2017. World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JORGE SILVA (Photo credit should read JORGE SILVA/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:00
Trump responds to Russia election meddling
Trump Putin Russian election meddling newday_00000000.jpg
Trump Putin Russian election meddling newday_00000000.jpg
Now playing
01:31
Trump: I believe Putin
President Donald Trump, left, and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang shakes hands at the Presidential Palace, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
PHOTO: Andrew Harnik/AP
President Donald Trump, left, and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang shakes hands at the Presidential Palace, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Hanoi, Vietnam. Trump is on a five country trip through Asia traveling to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Now playing
00:43
Vietnam responds to Trump's 'mediator' offer
President Trump attends the APEC gala dinner in Da Nang 7:50a: President Trump's scheduled arrival RX 763 SOURCE: HOST   8:00a: Dinner & Cultural Performance. Toast by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang RX 763 SOURCE: HOST
PHOTO: HOST
President Trump attends the APEC gala dinner in Da Nang 7:50a: President Trump's scheduled arrival RX 763 SOURCE: HOST 8:00a: Dinner & Cultural Performance. Toast by Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang RX 763 SOURCE: HOST
Now playing
00:36
Watch Putin, Trump shake hands in Vietnam
US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) as they pose for a group photo ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit leaders gala dinner in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 10, 2017.
World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / Vietnam News Agency / STR        (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: STR/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) as they pose for a group photo ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit leaders gala dinner in the central Vietnamese city of Danang on November 10, 2017. World leaders and senior business figures are gathering in the Vietnamese city of Danang this week for the annual 21-member APEC summit. / AFP PHOTO / Vietnam News Agency / STR (Photo credit should read STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:51
Trump, Putin chat at Asia summit
RX 763 -- Path 3/Trump/Da Nang/Vietnam/Pool
PHOTO: POOL
RX 763 -- Path 3/Trump/Da Nang/Vietnam/Pool
Now playing
01:18
Trump: US has not been treated fairly by WTO
north korea trump speech ripley_00005622.jpg
north korea trump speech ripley_00005622.jpg
Now playing
02:50
North Koreans react to Trump's speech
Now playing
01:05
Trump: Can't blame China for taking advantage
WASHINGTON, D.C. - AUGUST 14: (AFP-OUT) U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds a memorandum he just signed on addressing China's laws, policies, practices, and actions related to intellectual property, innovation, and technology at The White House on August 14, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, D.C. - AUGUST 14: (AFP-OUT) U.S. President Donald J. Trump holds a memorandum he just signed on addressing China's laws, policies, practices, and actions related to intellectual property, innovation, and technology at The White House on August 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)
Now playing
02:10
Trump vs China: Tensions over trade
trump china visit north korea sot_00000505.jpg
trump china visit north korea sot_00000505.jpg
Now playing
01:22
Trump: Mutual commitment to denuclearize NK
trump burger asia trip moos pkg_00014912.jpg
PHOTO: Much's Burger Shack
trump burger asia trip moos pkg_00014912.jpg
Now playing
01:56
Trump, Abe lunch starts hamburger craze
Now playing
00:24
Trump in South Korea: What's at stake?
Now playing
02:25
President Trump: N. Korea a worldwide threat
US President Donald Trump (C) feeds koi fish as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R)looks on during a welcoming ceremony in Tokyo on November 6, 2017.
Trump lashed out at the US trade relationship with Japan, saying it was "not fair and open", as he prepared for formal talks with his Japanese counterpart. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOTO: JIM WATSON/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump (C) feeds koi fish as Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R)looks on during a welcoming ceremony in Tokyo on November 6, 2017. Trump lashed out at the US trade relationship with Japan, saying it was "not fair and open", as he prepared for formal talks with his Japanese counterpart. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:45
Trump, Abe feed koi fish in Japan
(CNN) —  

Before their bilateral meeting in Manila on Monday, President Donald Trump and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte posed for pictures. Reporters were late for what is known as the “pool spray” because, according to the pool report of the meeting, they were held up by security.

When they finally got into the room, reporters asked questions of the two leaders regarding Duterte’s controversial human rights record and whether Trump would raise it with him. Here’s what happened next:

Duterte: “We will be discussing matters that are of interest to both the Philippines and … with you around, guys, you are the spies.”

“Hah, hah, hah,” Trump said laughing.

“You are,” Duterte repeated.

Um, what?

Even after his meeting with Duterte, Trump – in an open session of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meeting – seemed entirely unfazed by his colleague’s view on the press. He thanked Duterte “very much for the way you treated all of us.”

“Thank you,” Duterte responded. “This signifies the end of our open session. I would like to request media to leave us alone.” He quickly added: “You may leave the room.”

Context matters here, and shows that Trump tolerating Duterte’s behavior – not to mention laughing at his “joke” – is really bad.

In June 2016, in the wake of two Filipino journalists being killed while working, Duterte said this: “Just because you’re a journalist, you are not exempted from assassination if you’re a son of a bitch. Freedom of expression cannot help you if you have done something wrong.”

Things haven’t gotten much better for journalists in the Philippines since then. In a report on the status of journalism in the country in February, the International Press Institute writes this:

“Duterte’s cynicism toward the press appears to be catching on among his supporters. Journalists who criticize the president’s policies or cover sensitive topics like drug trafficking or corruption face defamation suits and an online backlash. Duterte’s supporters attack them outright or report their online accounts to social media platforms, demanding the takedown of ‘inappropriate content.’”

It’s also worth noting that the Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a journalist. Since 1992, 78 journalists have been killed in the Philippines, the third highest total in the world – behind only Iraq (186) and Syria (114), according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

None of that is a laughing matter. Not even close.

This also isn’t the first time Trump has “joked” about restricting press freedoms.

At the end of a press availability with the Kuwaiti emir at the White House in September, Trump said “I’m very happy to hear you have trouble with the press also.”

Kuwait isn’t exactly a standard-bearer of press freedom. According to Freedom House, a US-based non-governmental organization that studies freedom of the press around the world, Kuwait’s press freedom status is only “partly free” – with a 59 out of 100 overall press freedom score.

“Media operate in a restricted environment,” reads the 2016 writeup. “Journalists and social media users deemed to have insulted the emir or Saudi Arabia often face prosecution, and the government sustains efforts to stifle criticism of its actions and policies.”

In October, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that “it is frankly disgusting the press is able to write whatever it wants to write.”

Earlier on this 12-day Asia trip, Trump didn’t protest when Chinese President Xi Jinping refused to take any questions from the media. “It was at the Chinese insistence there were no questions today,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

All of these incidents highlight an unfortunate fact: Trump either doesn’t understand the role the American media plays – both domestically and on foreign trips – or he doesn’t care.

His view on the press seems to have more in common with the Philippines, China and Kuwait than it does with established western democracies. Which is telling.