US President Donald Trump hung up on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, it has been reported.
The phone call between the two leaders last Saturday was intended to last an hour. Instead the president ended the conversation after 25 minutes, apparently fuming over the deal struck with the outgoing Obama administration for the United States to take in 1,250 refugees who have been held in the controversial detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island on behalf of Australia, according to The Washington Post.
“This is the worst deal ever,” a belligerent Mr Trump reportedly told Mr Turnbull who was trying to confirm whether the arrangement would still be proceeding in light of the immigration and travel ban the president had implemented the previous day, barring entry to the US for all refugees as well as citizens of seven muslim majority countries.
According to report which cites senior administration officials as sources, Mr Trump accused Australia of trying to export “the next boston bombers”.
The president reportedly told the prime minister that he had spoken with a number of other world leaders that day and that: “This was the worst call by far.”
The report also says Mr Trump took the opportunity to brag to the leader of one of the United States’ staunchest allies about the size of his election win and the number of people at his inauguration.
Mr Turnbull has again insisted that the refugee deal, in which the US takes the Manus and Nauru refugees while in return Australia accepts a number of refugees from Central America, will go ahead.
“That assurance was confirmed by the president’s spokesman in the briefing room of the White House,” he told a press conference in Melbourne on Thursday.
When asked about the phone call with Mr Trump, Mr Turnbull said: “It is better these conversations are conducted candidly, frankly, privately.”
In an interview on the ABC’s 7:30 report on Wednesday night, the prime minister claimed to have Mr Trump’s word over the deal and pointed out that it had been backed up subsequently by the president’s spokesman.
“We have a conversation between the prime minister and the president. The president gives an assurance. We have a confirmation of that assurance given by the spokesman given in the White House briefing room. That’s what I’m basing my remarks on,” he said.
TOP IMAGE: US President Donald Trump on the Oval Office phone to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The president reportedly hung up abruptly after 25 minutes. (Pete Marovich/European PA/Pool)