News, Culture & Society

Malcolm Turnbull spills the beans on THAT telephone argument with Donald Trump

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told US President Donald Trump during their heated January phone call America did not have to accept any of the refugees held on Nauru or Manus Island.

A full transcript of their call was leaked to the Washington Post and published on Thursday.

They chatted about a mutual acquaintance, Australian golf great Greg Norman.

‘I guess our friend Greg Norman, he is doing very well?’ Mr Trump asked.

‘He is a great mutual friend, yes,’ Mr Turnbull responded.

The pleasantries, however, soon evaporated as Mr Turnbull firmly pushed Mr Trump to accept the Nauru-Manus Island refugee deal Australia struck in 2016 with then US president Barack Obama.

The transcript shows how Mr Turnbull corralled Mr Trump into publicly endorsing the deal to consider accepting 1250 refugees, but also offered a way for the president not to accept a single person.

Mr Turnbull, with plenty of political stock invested in getting the deal done, pushed Mr Trump.

‘I am asking you as a very good friend,’ Mr Turnbull said.

‘This is a big deal.

‘It is really, really important to us that we maintain it.’

Mr Turnbull explained the deal was for 1250 to 2000 refugees, but added Mr Trump in the end, after vetting, would not have to take any refugees.

‘You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting,’ Mr Turnbull told Mr Trump, according to the transcript.

‘You can decide to take 1000 or 100. It is entirely up to you.

‘The obligation is to only go through the process.’

Mr Turnbull also said: ‘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.’

Mr Trump said the deal ‘is going to kill me’ and ‘makes me look so bad’.

In another exchange Mr Trump asked Mr Turnbull: ‘Suppose I vet them closely and I do not take any?’

Mr Turnbull responded: ‘That is the point I have been trying to make.’

Mr Trump: ‘How does that help you?’

Mr Turnbull: ‘Well, we assume that we will act in good faith.’

Mr Trump was not happy, but eventually conceded he will accept the deal originally agreed upon last year between Mr Turnbull and then US president Barack Obama.

‘Malcolm, why is this so important?’ Mr Trump asked.

‘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 2000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position.’

Mr Turnbull responded: ‘With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2000.’

Mr Trump replied: ‘Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5000 as well.’

Mr Turnbull: ‘The given number in the agreement is 1250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting.’

Mr Trump told Mr Turnbull the agreement was ‘a horrible deal, a disgusting deal’, would make him look like a ‘dope’, ‘a weak and ineffective leader’, and he feared the refugees would turn into terrorists who would pull off San Bernardino or World Trade Center-style terror attacks in the US.

Mr Turnbull: ‘Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.’

Mr Trump fired back: ‘It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.’

Mr Turnbull: ‘You can count on me. I will be there again and again.’

Mr Trump ended the call early, just 24 minutes into the 60 minutes allotted.

The call was Mr Trump’s last of numerous calls with world leaders on January 28, including with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

‘As far as I am concerned, that is enough Malcolm,’ Mr Trump said, ending the call.

‘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.’

Mr Turnbull then asked: ‘Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?’

Mr Trump responded: ‘This is crazy.’

Mr Turnbull: ‘Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.’

Mr Trump fired back: ‘It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me. It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook. So you put me back on the hook.’

Mr Turnbull replied: ‘You can count on me. I will be there again and again.’

Trump replied: ‘I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.’

‘Okay, thank you.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk