Trump calls out PM as ‘ worse’

Townsville Bulletin - - WORLD -

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.”


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