Leaked transcript reveals how Trump-Turnbull January phone call really went

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Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump and Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as the President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim (R) looks on after the family picture on the first day of the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. Reuters/Ludovic Marin/Pool

A leaked transcript of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and US President Donald Trump’s January phone call features the US leader saying his Australian counterpart is worse than he is. They were discussing Australia’s policy of refusing refugees the right to land on its shores.

Trump initially complimented the policy, calling it a good idea that America should emulate. But he started to sound angry at the idea of having to take Australia’s refugees.

The POTUS said he hate taking these people, who he claimed are “bad.” He pointed out they are not going to be good people.

Trump thought things could get worse. He suggested the refugees could “become the Boston Bomber in five years.”

At one point, Trump described himself as the “world’s greatest person” who does not want to let people into his country. He said he thinks of it as a horrible and disgusting deal.

“There is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal,” Turnbull insisted, according to the transcript obtained by The Washington Post. He recognised that Trump could certainly say it was not a deal he has specifically done, but he must stick with it. He added that the Australian government is unswerving with the principles set out in the executive order.

But Trump maintained it was a stupid deal that would make him look terrible. He thought he would be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in his first week, calling it a “killer.” He also called the deal "ridiculous," "rotten," and "stupid."

He told Turnbull he enjoyed his call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and much more, but the conversation between him and the prime minister was “the most unpleasant call all day.” Australia and America have always been close allies, while Russia has been an aggressive adversary.

Based on the leaked transcript, Turnbull tried to shift the conversation to less controversial topics. Trump said it was “crazy,” and the call immediately ended after brief goodbyes.

News about Turnbull and Trump’s phone call made headlines earlier this year. But Trump has attacked the media for “fake news” over its reporting on the said conversation.

Trump even thanked the Australian prime minister for “telling the truth” about their “civil conversation.” When he and Turnbull met in New York in May, the two leaders had downplayed any difficulty during their phone call.

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