Leaked transcripts of Trump calls reveal fraught relationships with world leaders in excruciating detail
Transcripts of telephone conversations between Donald Trump and two world leaders show that the President of the United States has consistently insisted on his political image and carefully highlighted some of the difficulties he had in navigating foreign affairs.
Talks between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in first place at Trump Week provide a window into the president’s casual relationships with other world leaders and his approach to negotiation goals.
Although some details have been reported, full transcripts of calls produced by White House staff were released Thursday by the Washington Post. The Post did not reveal how it got the transcripts.
US President Donald Trump with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull before the family photo during the opening day of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7.
In this January 28 file photo, US President Donald Trump speaks on the phone with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of the White House Oval Office in Washington.
The revelations include Trump describing his proposed border wall to the Mexican president as “the least we talk about, but politically, this could be the most important.”
He told Pena Nieto to stop saying that Mexico does not pay for its construction, saying that they could agree on the cost “occurs in the wash.”
“You can not say [Mexico will not pay] in the press,” said M. Trump. “The press is going to go with that, and I can not live with that.”
In his appeal to Turnbull, President raises the insistence of the Australian Prime Minister, who Trump Honored an agreement reached by the administration of former President Barack Obama to allow 1,250 refugees hosted by Australia in the US.
“This is going to kill me,” said Trump Turnbull, calling the case “stupid” and saying “this will do me very well.” The President went on to describe the phone call – which marked a day of marathon in which he also spoke with the leaders of Russia, Germany, Japan and France – as the worst of calls in the band.
“I have it,” said Trump Turnbull, “I made these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day.” [Russian President Vladimir] Putin was a good call.
The White House declined to comment when asked about the transcripts. However, the unauthorized publication of documents, compiled by White House staff and broadcast in national security ministries and agencies, shows that the administration continues to fight against the leaks that seem destined to damage its presidency.
Administration officials have voiced their frustration with the revelations, saying they undermine the president’s ability to speak frankly of world leaders.