Trump calls out PM as ‘ worse’
US PRESIDENT Donald Trump praised Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for being “worse than I am” on rejecting refugees, but later scolded him for being more “unpleasant” than Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The leaked full transcript of the colourful January 28 phone conversation between Mr Trump and Mr Turnbull was published by the Washington Post yesterday.
“You are worse than I am,” Mr Trump told the Prime Minister. Mr Turnbull had just detailed Australia’s policy on turning away asylum seekers on boats and detaining them on Nauru and Manus Island.
“Even if you are a Nobel Prize winning genius, we will not let you in,” Mr Turnbull said. “That is a good idea,” said Mr Trump. “We should do that too.”
The call shows how Mr Turnbull corralled Mr Trump into publicly endorsing the contentious deal for the US to accept 1250 refugees held on Nauru and Manus Island.
“You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting,” Mr Turnbull told Mr Trump. “You can decide to take 1000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process.”
Mr Turnbull also told Mr Trump Australia was willing to take refugees the US did not want. The deal hatched by Mr Turnbull with former US president Barack Obama last year involved Australia accepting asylum- seekers in Central America that had been attempting to enter the US.
“We will take anyone that you want us to take,” Mr Turnbull said. “The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat.”
Mr Trump told Mr Turnbull the agreement was “a horrible deal, a disgusting deal”, would make him look like a “dope”, “a weak and ineffective leader” and he feared the refugees would turn into terrorists. Mr Trump ended the call early – after just 24 minutes into the 60 minutes allotted.
The call was Mr Trump’s last of numerous calls with world leaders on January 28, including with Mr Putin.
“As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcolm,” Mr Trump, ending the call, said.
“I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.”
Mr Turnbull yesterday insisted his relationship with Mr Trump was “warm”. “We’re both adults. ... I stand up for Australia’s interests, he stands up for America’s interests.”
THIS IS THE MOST UNPLEASANT CALL ALL DAY. PUTIN WAS A PLEASANT CALL DONALD TRUMP