Donald Trump had a telephone conversation with Malcolm Turnbull soon after his inauguration in January. The discussion between the two leaders revealed that the U.S. president was not comfortable to carry on with a controversial refugee deal approved by the Obama administration. The leaked conversation has revealed that the prime minister of Australia was slammed by Trump for sending “the next Boston bombers” to the U.S.
Turnbull and Barack Obama had a deal in November that would allow around 1,250 asylum seekers to be considered by the United States. Australia refused to allow these refugees to enter the country because they had been “smuggled” by boat. They have been kept in offshore detention centers in Nauru and Manus Island for years now.
During the telephone conversation, Donald Trump wondered why Australia was sending the refugees to the United States when it would not let them enter its own society. Turnbull tried to explain that Australia had nothing against them, but they were not allowed because they had arrived illegally. The prime minister of Australia said that he would not allow even a Nobel laureate to enter the country if they arrived by boat.
President Trump then responded, “That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.”
Donald Trump expressed concern about the identity of the asylum seekers. He wondered if some of them would become terrorists in the next few years. He also asked Turnbull if Australia would take the responsibility if such things happened.
The U.S. president said that Turnbull would not “destroy” his country by allowing the refugees, but the Australian prime minister would not mind sending them to the U.S. Trump said German Chancellor Angela Merkel was repenting her decision to welcome 2 million Syrian refugees. According to him, Germany is a mess because of Merkel’s decision.
The complete transcript of the conversation was leaked to the Washington Post. However, it was already reported in February that the discussion over the refugee deal did not go particularly well.
Upon hearing about Trump’s take on the deal, an Iranian asylum seeker told CNN that the United States should allow other countries to help, if Washington was not interested in taking the refugees in.
“We are not toys to play with.”
Turnbull continued his efforts to convince Trump to conform with the deal, as he told the U.S. president that the deal would not oblige him to allow anybody to enter the country. After agreeing to respect the deal, Trump could refuse entry to them through “extreme vetting,” Turnbull said.
[Featured Image by Stefan Postles/Getty Images]