Donald Trump is trying to talk tough, with one of his latest targets being Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, but mixed messages are making a mockery of Trump’s so-called toughness. Perhaps he should start getting tough on his inconsistencies.
Dumping on one of the USA’s closest allies seems to be quite stupid.
It should have been one of the most congenial calls for the new commander in chief — a conversation with the leader of Australia, one of America’s staunchest allies, at the end of a triumphant week.
Instead, President Trump blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee agreement and boasted about the magnitude of his electoral college win, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange. Then, 25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.
At one point, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day — including Russian President Vladimir Putin — and that “this was the worst call by far.”
When the phone conversation was leaked (in itself a notable thing to have happened) Trump turned to Twitter.
It may look like a dumb deal, but Trump’s way of dealing with it is dumber.
Since then he has continued. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph: Donald Trump ‘upset and angry’ over refugee deal discussed with Malcolm Turnbull
US President Donald Trump has continued his public stoush with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull by declaring he needs to make “tough phone calls” because nations are taking advantage of America.
At a speech in Washington DC overnight, Mr Trump said the world was in trouble but he was “going to straighten it out”.
“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it,” Mr Trump told the audience. “Just don’t worry about it.
“They’re tough. We have to be tough,” he said. “It’s time we have to be a little tough folks.
“We are taken advantage of by every nation in the world virtually. “It’s not going to happen anymore.”
On top of this there has been conflicting information from trump’s administration.
From RNZ in US ‘taken advantage of by every nation’ – Trump
The tweets threw more confusion about the status of the controversial deal that Australia made with former President Barack Obama late last year.
The United States would resettle up to 1250 asylum seekers held in offshore processing camps on Pacific islands in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. In return, Australia would resettle refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.
The swap is at odds with Mr Trump’s executive order last week suspending the US refugee programme and restricting entry to the United States for travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer and the US Embassy in Australia have both said Mr Trump would honour the deal. In several media appearances after Mr Trump’s tweet, Mr Turnbull reiterated that he believed the deal stood.
“He is saying that this is not a deal he would have made, but the question is will he honour that commitment? He has already given it,” Mr Turnbull said.
Not surprisingly there has been a lot of criticism. Stuff details some in US media, congressmen stunned Donald Trump has picked a fight with Australia
I don’t know that Trump has deliberately picked a fight, it could be just his normal boorish arrogant behaviour.
Lawrence O’Donnell, the left-wing commentator and host of MSNBC’s The Last Word, lambasted the president for insulting Turnbull, “while having no idea that Australia has stood by us like no other ally, marched into battle with us where no other ally would go, including Vietnam, something Donald Trump would have known if he had served in Vietnam and heard those men beside him with those Australian accents, men who saved the lives of American troops”.
David Gergen, a former presidential adviser to Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, who is now an analyst for CNN, accused Trump of bullying a friend.
“Are they playing some sort of game in the White House – how many countries we can they alienate in 100 days? The list is in double digits now,” he said on the network.
“We have never had a president in my memory who has bullied our friends in this way, especially heads of government.”
Kevin Madden, a former adviser to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, said people had long expected that Trump, a mogul and reality television star known for his combative, impudent manner, would eventually conform to some level of political protocol, but that a pivot of that nature was never going to come.
“He’s just not going to change but that’s what’s problematic,” he said on the same CNN panel.
“Here we have in instance where we are already alienating one of our closest allies just over a phone call … just the tone of it was what’s already caused some consternation.”
Dealing with Trump will be difficult for probably every country. he seems to think he can abuse any one and any country he likes. He may end up isolating the US far more than he envisaged.
Deliberately or not Trump is making America grate.