By now, folks on both sides of the world have learned from news stories about how the first contact by phone between the republican President Donald Trump and Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball was not an auspicious occasion. The US president was demonstrating his true colors when he decided to flex his flabby muscles by articulating how he did not want to honor the previous presidential administration’s commitment to welcome over a thousand refugees to US shores.
Most Americans were appalled at the president’s boorish poor manners towards one of our favorite and most loyal ally from down under. And eventually he did relent to keep this promise made by the democratic party US President Barack Obama to Australia’s prime minister.
By May 4th, news pundits from both countries painted a much rosier picture about the relation ship between the two leaders as they had their first in person tête–à-tête chat.
But the question remains, what does the Australian Prime Minister Turnbull really think about the flamboyant US president. Fortunately, there is a video that has gone viral even though its content was never meant to be publicly shared which provides all of us, a clue. The prime minister has portrayed the video as just having fun but obviously he does not get how our US president feels about being made fun of in any format. Just ask President Obama.
Here is the rest of the story about the two leaders meeting…
On May 5, 2017. Maggie Haberman and Mark Landler of the New York Times penned the following report, “Despite Earlier Spat, Smooth Sailing Aboard Intrepid for Trump and Turnbull.”
“President Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia on Thursday played down the testy phone exchange that began their working relationship as they met face to face aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid in Manhattan.”
“We get along great. We have a fantastic relationship, I love Australia, I always have,” Mr. Trump told reporters who witnessed a portion of the meeting between the two wealthy, iconoclastic, deal-making politicians in a room near the ship’s main dining area.”
“The two attended a dinner aboard the Intrepid, now a museum docked in the Hudson River, to honor the 75th anniversary of the strategic victory of the United States and Australia over Japan in the Battle of the Coral Sea during World War II.”
“Their earlier encounter, an acrimonious first phone call in February, was spoiled by Mr. Trump’s hostile reaction to a deal with Australia that President Barack Obama negotiated in the final weeks of his second term. In it, the United States agreed to take in as many as 1,250 refugees that Australia was holding at offshore detention centers.”
“During that call, Mr. Trump told Mr. Turnbull that the agreement would hurt his new administration politically, officials said at the time. The president said on Twitter after the phone conversation that the deal was “dumb” and that he would study it, raising concerns that the United States might back out.”
“The White House later agreed to honor the agreement, provided the refugees were subject to “extreme vetting.” Since then, the two leaders have worked to move beyond the phone call.”
“We can put the refugee deal behind you and move on,” Mr. Turnbull said on Thursday.”
“It’s all worked out. It’s been worked out for a long time,” Mr. Trump added. “We had a great telephone call. You guys exaggerated that call. That was a big exaggeration. We’re not babies.”
“Mr. Turnbull chuckled and said, “Young at heart.”
“We had a very very good call. That was a little bit of fake news,” Mr. Trump said.”
“That’s exactly right,” Mr. Turnbull chimed in.
“After the call, Mr. Trump praised Mr. Turnbull for his low-key description of the conversation. In turn, Mr. Turnbull refused to be drawn into criticizing the leader of a close ally.”
“Thursday’s dinner was attended by Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born media mogul and an informal adviser to Mr. Trump.”
“In their predinner meeting, Mr. Trump said Australia had better health care than the United States. “We’re going to have great health care very soon,” he said.”
“Later, in tandem speeches, Mr. Turnbull and Mr. Trump affirmed their countries’ relationships. Mr. Trump was introduced by Mr. Murdoch, whom the president called a “good friend.” Mr. Trump described the nations as “rebellious children of the same parent.”
“He conceded that his phone call with Mr. Turnbull had been “a little bit testy, but that’s O.K. We have a very good relationship.” And he gently mocked the Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt, who has promised to invest $2 billion over the course of a decade in American jobs. “That’s peanuts for Anthony. You can do better,” Mr. Trump said.”
“The Intrepid visit symbolized the bonds of a military alliance that dates from World War I and that has grown to encompass extensive intelligence-sharing, joint military exercises and shoulder-to-shoulder combat campaigns.”
“Two weeks ago (April 2017), the United States Navy sent the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and its strike group to the Indian Ocean to conduct a major exercise with the Australian Navy. The United States Navy kept the date even after it announced that the Carl Vinson was being deployed to the Western Pacific to respond to a growing crisis over North Korea.”
“Miscommunication over the carrier’s route proved to be embarrassing for the White House, after the discovery of photographs that showed that the Carl Vinson was thousands of miles south of the Korean Peninsula.”
“Officials said that the military exercises showed the determination of the United States Navy not to jilt its Australian partners.”
“During their meeting, Mr. Trump briefed Mr. Turnbull about his strategy for dealing with the mounting nuclear threat from North Korea. They also talked about the American-led campaign against the Islamic State.”
“Mr. Turnbull is a member of the Liberal Party, Australia’s more conservative party, but has little in common with Mr. Trump on many of his positions. But he has borrowed some of his populist language on immigration, an issue that is as fraught in Australia as it is in the United States.”
“The Australian leader recently announced proposals that would limit the number of permanent residents settling in his country and that would make it harder for immigrants to become citizens. Fluency in English, a test of “Australian values” and a longer waiting period are part of the proposal, which was widely viewed as an effort to keep Mr. Turnbull’s government from being toppled by rivals on the right.”
“We are putting jobs first; we are putting Australians first,” Mr. Turnbull said. “We are an immigration nation, but the fact remains that Australian workers must have priority.”