Trump Slams ‘Dumb Deal’ With Ally Aus­tralia Af­ter Testy Call

Blasts a refugee re­set­tle­ment deal with Aus­tralia in a late-night tweet, throw­ing the fate of more than 1,000 dis­placed peo­ple into doubt

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Washington: Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump blasted a refugee re­set­tle­ment deal with Aus­tralia in a latenight tweet, throw­ing the fate of more than 1,000 dis­placed peo­ple and the US’s re­la­tion­ship with a key ally into doubt.

“Do you be­lieve it? The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion agreed to take thou­sands of il­le­gal im­mi­grants from Aus­tralia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!,” Trump tweeted. The re­set­tle­ment plan in­volves send­ing refugees be­ing held by Aus­tralia in off­shore camps, many of them from the Mid­dle East or South Asia, onto the US. The mes­sage came af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Malcolm Turn­bull de­fended his re­la­tion­ship with Aus­tralia’s big­gest ally in the wake of a Washington Post re­port that Trump be­rated him over the deal. Trump “abruptly ended” a phone call with the Aus­tralian leader on Jan­uary 28 af­ter 25 min­utes even­thoughthey­had­been­sched­uled to speak for an hour, the pa­per said. It cited uniden­ti­fied US of­fi­cials who were briefed about the con­ver­sa­tion. Dur­ing the call, Trump la­belled the re­set­tle­ment plan “the worst deal ever,” the pa­per re­ported. The pres­i­dent told Turn­bull he had spo­ken to four other global lead­ers t h at d ay, i nc lud i n g Russi a n Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, and “this was the worst call by far,” it said.

In a ra­dio in­ter­view on Thurs­day af­ter Trump’s tweet, Turn­bull said he still ex­pects the deal will go ahead. Headded­he­was“very­dis­ap­pointed” over the leak and said the call with Trump ended “cour­te­ously.”

“The ques­tion is, will he com­mit to honor the deal, and he has given that com­mit­ment,” Turn­bull said. The call with the pres­i­dent was “very frank and forth­right,” he said, de­clin­ing to give fur­ther de­tails. Ear­lier in the day when asked about the Washington Post re­port, Turn­bull de­scribed Aus­tralia’s re­la­tion­ship with the U.S. as “very strong.” White House spokesman Sean Spicer didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Since tak­ing of­fice nearly two weeks ago, Trump and his se­nior of­fi­cials have lashed out at sev­eral lead­ers, crit­i­cis­ing Ja­pan, Ger­many and China for their trade and cur­rency poli­cies and sig­nal­ing a more dis­rup­tive ap­proach to Amer­ica’s re­la­tion­ships — even if a coun­try is a long-term ally. LateWed­nes­day,aMex­i­co­pres­i­den­tial spokesman de­nied Trump told Pres­i­dent Pena Ni­eto over the phone hemight­sendUStroopsin­toMex­ico, and said there was no threat­en­ing tone on the call.

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