The relationship between Donald Trump and Malcom Turnbull is off to a terrible start
Australia has long been a strong US ally, but that alliance is coming under early strain after US President Donald Trump’s first phone call with Aussie Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull.
Details of the call were leaked to the Washington Post, and neither the White House nor Australia’s government have denied the reports. Both have admitted it was a “tough” phone call, which in diplomatic-speak means it went very badly.
Trump reportedly told Turnbull that he had spoken with four leaders earlier that day, and said “This Was The Worst Call By Far.”
Additionally, Trump ripped into a deal signed by the Obama Administration for the US to take in 1,250 refugees from Australia.
Trump reportedly told Turnbull it, “was the worst deal ever.” Trump later tweeted about the deal:
Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
To cap it off, Trump also ended the call early.
Will China take advantage of a potential US-Australia rift?
While both the US and Australia have said their strong relationship “endures,” any rift between the United States and Australia could be exploited by China.
China is already trying to deepen their trade ties with Australia, and could step into any gap between the Trump and Turnbull administrations.
With that in mind, Turnbull needs to be wary. Even an aggressive US administration is a far better long-term friend than an undemocratic China.
Who is leaking the Trump phone calls?
The Trump-Turnbull call wasn’t the only one that leaked. Details of Trump’s call with Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto were also revealed – including allegations that Trump threatened to send troops into Mexico.
That means someone in the US government – someone with access to the President’s calls – is leaking them to the media.
This points to a serious early privacy breach, and the potential that the bureaucracy is working to undermine the new administration.
Newly sworn-in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson certainly has a big task ahead.
Photo – Twitter