TRANSCRIPT: Trump's First Call With Australian Prime Minister Turnbull Was As Contentious As We've Heard

And the hits just keep on coming.

I don’t know who released these transcripts, but apparently, getting rid of Priebus wasn’t the fix the administration was hoping for.

Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, tales of his first phone calls to world leaders began to fly. And by “tales” I mean leaks.

Out of those earliest leaks came the report that the newly-inaugurated president’s conversations with Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian prime minister, was angsty, to say the least.

Trump later railed against the leaks, saying they’d had a positive call, and any reports to the contrary were – you guessed it – FAKE NEWS.

Well, about that…

The transcripts released in the Washington Post today tend to back up those who initially said there were friction between Trump and Turnbull.

The conversation was mostly a lot of Turnbull attempting to explain the details of the agreement made by President Obama to accept refugees into America.

Then there was that part where he said his conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin was more pleasant.

Trump disputed the numbers and the fairness in having to uphold a deal made by President Obama (Trump felt it was 2,000 to 5,000 and Turnbull explained it was 1,250), and argued that it made him look bad.

He also called himself “the world’s greatest person,” so you can just about tell why Turnbull seemed to be having such a difficult time with getting through.

Check out this key portion of that call and you can see for yourself:

TURNBULL:

Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

 

TRUMP

Who made the deal? Obama?

 

TURNBULL

Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people — none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

 

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.

 

TRUMP

Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

 

TURNBULL

I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

 

TRUMP

Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

 

TURNBULL

I stood up at the UN in September and set up what our immigration policy was. I said that you cannot maintain popular support for immigration policy, multiculturalism, unless you can control your borders. The bottom line is that we got here. I am asking you as a very good friend. This is a big deal. It is really, really important to us that we maintain it. It does not oblige you to take one person that you do not want. As I have said, your homeland officials have visited and they have already interviewed these people. You can decide. It is at your discretion. So you have the wording in the Executive Order that enables the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State to admit people on a case by case basis in order to conform with an existing agreement. I do believe that you will never find a better friend to the United States than Australia. I say this to you sincerely that it is in the mutual interest of the United States to say, “yes, we can conform with that deal – we are not obliged to take anybody we do not want, we will go through extreme vetting” and that way you are seen to show the respect that a trusted ally wants and deserves. We will then hold up our end of the bargain by taking in our country 31 [inaudible] that you need to move on from.

 

TRUMP

Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

 

TURNBULL

With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

 

TRUMP

Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

 

TURNBULL

The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

 

TRUMP

No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

 

TURNBULL

I would not be so sure about that. They are basically —

 

TRUMP

Well, maybe you should let them out of prison. I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

 

TURNBULL

But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.

 

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.

 

TURNBULL

Mr. President, I think this will make you look like a man who stands by the commitments of the United States. It shows that you are a committed —

 

TRUMP

Okay, this shows me to be a dope. I am not like this but, if I have to do it, I will do it but I do not like this at all. I will be honest with you. Not even a little bit. I think it is ridiculous and Obama should have never signed it. The only reason I will take them is because I have to honor a deal signed by my predecessor and it was a rotten deal. I say that it was a stupid deal like all the other deals that this country signed. You have to see what I am doing. I am unlocking deals that were made by people, these people were incompetent. I am not going to say that it fits within the realm of my Executive Order. We are going to allow 2,000 prisoners to come into our country and it is within the realm of my Executive Order? If that is the case my Executive Order does not mean anything Malcom [sic]. I look like a dope. The only way that I can do this is to say that my predecessor made a deal and I have no option then to honor the deal. I hate having to do it, but I am still going to vet them very closely. Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?

 

TURNBULL

That is the point I have been trying to make.

 

TRUMP

How does that help you?

 

TURNBULL

Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.

 

TRUMP

Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

 

TURNBULL

Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

 

TRUMP

Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

 

TURNBULL

Correct, we have stopped the boats.

 

TRUMP

Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino’s or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

 

TURNBULL

These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

 

TRUMP

Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

 

TURNBULL

They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

 

TRUMP

They were from wherever they were.

 

TURNBULL

Please, if we can agree to stick to the deal, you have complete discretion in terms of a security assessment. The numbers are not 2,000 but 1,250 to start. Basically, we are taking people from the previous administration that they were very keen on getting out of the United States. We will take more. We will take anyone that you want us to take. The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point.

 

TRUMP

What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.

 

TURNBULL

No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people’s representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us – that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to.

 

TRUMP

I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it – START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

 

TURNBULL

You will not.

 

TRUMP

Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

 

TURNBULL

You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

 

TRUMP

I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor’s deal. I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it. I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]. I have had it. I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

Absolute gridlock.

Australia is one of the United States’ closest allies, as well as intelligence-sharing partners. To have a U.S. president be so obstinate and dismissive of an ally probably didn’t set the right tone, moving forward.

And it’s not even that I have a problem with the idea that we should be taking any refugees that can’t be adequately vetted.

I have a problem with the lack of diplomacy and absolute rejection of gathering knowledge.

Am I the only one that feels like he just wasn’t understanding what was being said to him?