What really happened during 'that' phone call

Calvin Saunders
August 4, 2017

Malcolm Turnbull told Donald Trump that Australia would take any refugee the U.S. nominated - including "not very attractive" ones - if the President honoured the asylum seeker relocation deal brokered with Barack Obama, according to a sensationally leaked transcript of their infamous first phone call.

The leaders had some common ground, both slamming the open door policy in Germany on refugees.

The agreement forged by the Obama administration actually called for the United States to accept 1,250 refugees, subject to security screening.

"Well, maybe you should let them out of prison", Trump said. Mr Trump asked. "He is a great mutual friend, yes", Mr Turnbull responded.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post published 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.

"(But) if you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I can not live with that", Trump said. If you see reports of them, I'm not going to add to them, " he said at the time, as quoted by Reuters. "It is entirely up to you", the PM said.

He goes on to say that after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin (listed first), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, " this was my most unpleasant call..."

"As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]", Mr Trump says towards the end of the conversation.

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With an agreement over the refugee resettlement plan not forthcoming, Mr Trump was blunt in sizing up his exchange with Mr Turnbull. "I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day".

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.

Mr Turnbull responded: "That is the point I have been trying to make".

Mr Trump replied: "Well, it is close".

'I hate taking these people. "It is very important to us".

TRUMP: I do not know what he got out of it. Putin was a pleasant call. "So you put me back on the hook".

Describing the refugee deal once more, Mr Trump said: "It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. I will be there again and again".

Panda was correct in that assessment, but Trump is not a man to be tied by expectations, or, as the leaked transcript of the call proves, by deals made by his predecessor. He also tries to appeal to the value of commitments in global relations: "Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States".

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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