One of the first big events of Trump‘s presidency was the extremely sharp call he had with our very own prime minister Malcolm Turnbull – one of the few times Australians could proudly say as a nation that they were more or less onside with the Don.
Despite the fact the legendary chinwag happened al the way back in February, it continues to haunt us. No even moreso – because the utterly bonkers transcript of the call has been leaked to The Washington Post. Not only is a primo slice of Trump’s mystifying use of the English language, it’s also a window into precisely how Turnbull was trying to pitch the not so well-recieved Manus resettlement deal.
The entire thing is available on the Post’s website – but here are the highlights in case you’re stinging for the big moments.
First of all, Trump made a big play in their intro, referring to the pair’s mutual friendship with Greg Norman, which is a rich alpha move the likes of which peasants such as yourselves can scarcely comprehend.
TURNBULL: Good evening.
TRUMP: Mr. Prime Minister, how are you?
TURNBULL: I am doing very well.
TRUMP: And I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?
TURNBULL: He is a great mutual friend yes.
Turns out that the pleasantries were an extremely minor part of the chat – Turnbull very quickly turned the matter at hand to the resettlement deal, which it is abundantly clear Trump has either not been properly briefed on, or instantly forgot about. Once Turnbull brings it up, Trump immediately rejects it out of hand:
TRUMP: Well, actually I just called for a total ban on Syria and from many different countries from where there is terror, and extreme vetting for everyone else – and somebody told me yesterday that close to 2,000 people are coming who are really probably troublesome. And I am saying, boy that will make us look awfully bad. Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground.
[…] I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favour, not in favour, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here.
Turnbull and Trump argue for a little bit, with Turnbull trying to convince Donald that although the deal was struck under Obama, it was still something the United States would not find particularly onerous to abide by.
It’s interesting, because Turnbull then outlines his reasoning for why these particular people should be allowed to go the U.S. but not Australia.
TRUMP: Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?
TURNBULL: Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people —
TRUMP: That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.
TURNBULL: This is our experience.
Of course, Trump isn’t wrong – our brutal border policy and detention centre regime is literally far worse than anything Donald has either proposed or implemented. When it comes to human rights abuses we’re far ahead of the game, so to speak.
Also Trump is extremely succinct in summarising our immigration policy when it comes to boats – far moreso than Peter Dutton, actually.
TRUMP: What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.
Donald also uses the occasion to brag about his electoral college vote and implies that this is merely one of a series of shithouse deals brokered by Turnbull throughout his career.
TRUMP: Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.
The content of the leak is also potentially less interesting than the fact it leaked at all – it is bizarre that Trump runs such a chaotic ship that transcripts from chats he was having literally six months ago are still being churned out to the press. I’m not saying it was former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, but it wasn’t not Reince Priebus.
Again – read the whole thing on the Post. God we live in stupid times.