- REUTERS/Carlos Barria
President Donald Trump erupted at Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year during a private call, saying that a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin was far more pleasant.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post published bits of the transcript of a January 28 call in which Trump grew increasingly angry over the prospect of accepting 1,250 refugees housed by Australia, a deal that was agreed to by former President Barack Obama.
“I have had it,” Trump said. “I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day.”
“Putin was a pleasant call,” Trump said later in the conversation. “This is ridiculous.”
Trump first complimented Australia’s policy of refusing refugees, saying to Turnbull, “You are worse than I am.”
But despite Turnbull’s suggestion that the refugees had not been accused of crimes and were seeking better economic opportunities, Trump proceeded to vent, saying the refugees could “become the Boston bomber in five years.”
“I hate taking these people,” Trump said. “I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.”
“I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made,” Trump added. “As far as I am concerned, that is enough, Malcolm. I have had it.”
Trump hasn’t kept his feelings about the deal private, tweeting in February that he would study what he described as a “dumb deal.”
Following the Post’s report in early February about the Turnbull call, a number of US politicians attempted to reduce the call’s political fallout.
Republican Sens. John McCain and Bob Corker released statements affirming US support for Australia, while McCain phoned Australia’s ambassador to stress the importance of the US-Australia alliance.
Vice President Mike Pence was dispatched to Australia in April to smooth over relations between the two countries, which were strained by the refugee spat and Australia’s disappointment with Trump’s decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.
The Post’s report on Wednesday also included excerpts of Trump’s January clashes with another foreign leader over immigration. In a phone call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, he insisted that the two leaders stop discussing whether Mexico would pay for Trump’s proposed border wall.