Trump had tense phone call with Australian PM Turnbull over refugee deal

US President Donald Trump slammed Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull over refugee deal

US President Donald Trump has sparked a fresh diplomatic row with ally Australia by branding a refugee deal with the country as “dumb”, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the Saturday exchange.

During a phone conversation on Saturday, Mr Trump reportedly told his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day and that “This was the worst call by far.”

“This is the worst deal ever,” Mr Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.

Malcolm Turnbull has admitted that his phone call with Donald Trump lasted only 25 minutes, less than half the expected hour, but insisted it ended courteously.

Australian government officials, who said the Washington Post’s account of the call was “substantially accurate”, described the conversation as “robust” and admitted it was “shorter than expected”, ABC News reported.

In what was meant to be a routine and friendly chat between the new president and Australia’s prime minister, Mr Trump reportedly fumed at a deal Mr Turnbull had made with his predecessor Barack Obama to move 1250 refugees from Nauru and Manus Island.

Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admission of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”

Trump’s executive order last week suspended the U.S. refugee program and restricted entry to the United States from majority-Muslim countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, casting doubt over the deal with Australia.

Trump tweets: I will study this dumb deal

Trump returned to the topic late Wednesday night, writing in a message on Twitter: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

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