Many people are worried that President Trump may permanently sever the strong relationship between Australia and the United States, especially after he called the Australia refugee deal “dumb” on Saturday.
Trump engaged with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull via a phone call last weekend. The Wall Street Journal described the phone call as “combative.” The subject: The refugee agreement as formed under former president Barack Obama.
“Trump and Turnbull spoke Saturday at 5 p.m. after the president had already spoken to several other world leaders. The White House’s official ‘read out’ of the call was very short, saying it was a 25-minute conversation and that ‘both leaders emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-Australia relationship that is critical for peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and globally.'”
While this is the official version, other witnesses’ accounts, as well as a tweet from President Trump, suggest otherwise.
Prime Minister Turnbull and President Trump discussed the status of the agreement, which was set to help move 1,250 people kept in offshore Australian detention units to the U.S., the news source explained. However, witnesses at the time said that Trump seemed willing to discuss the matter. Although he seemed that way then, Trump tweeted on Wednesday night that the agreement was a “dumb 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
Of course, this did not sit well with many people. It comes at a time when many American citizens are already concerned about Trump’s “refugee ban.”
Many criticize the new president with limiting liberty, specifically the chance of liberty to those entering our country. The Statue of Liberty is often featured in cartoons with Donald Trump, referring to the beacon that the statue was to immigrants during the early 20th century.
— Peter Brookes (@BrookesTimes) January 26, 2017
The comment is also concerning to various officials and prominent figures who worry that this will potentially ruin our relationship with Australia.
According to NPR, Senator John McCain, in an effort to reconfirm America’s interest in an alliance, called the Australian ambassador after news of the conversation surfaced. McCain expressed his “unwavering support.”
— JP MOORE (REAL) (@Democrat_4Trump) February 2, 2017
On the other hand, there are numerous individuals vouching for Trump, stating that the deal is, indeed, “dumb.” While this may by their opinion, it does seem to be convincing the Australian prime minister to let it go. Instead, he has insisted that an agreement was reached and that the U.S. cannot go back on its word. Turnbull views the agreement as standing, and the relationship between Australia and America to still be strong.
But is that the case?
It appears that the tension between Australia’s prime minister and the U.S. president over the deal is beginning to have a ripple effect. NPR reporter Lousia Lim explained that Australia is not being as warm and friendly to Americans as it has been in the past and is quickly spreading to the treatment of U.S. Marines.
“The trouble started during an acrimonious telephone call between Trump and Turnbull. The U.S. president had spoken to four other world leaders. But he told Turnbull this was the ‘worst call by far’ and ended it abruptly, according to The Washington Post. […] This episode has already added weight to calls for Australia to re-evaluate its decision to host U.S. Marines.”
— CNN (@CNN) February 2, 2017
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]