Former FBI Director says US presidents - including Trump - are too busy to 'screw up' their relationship with Australia

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty ImagesUS President Donald Trump
  • President Donald Trump, like all US presidents, doesn’t have the ability to destroy the country’s relationship with Australia, former FBI Director James Comey said.
  • The relationship would be hard to “screw up” because presidents simply don’t have “enough time.”
  • Trump reportedly hung up on Australia’s prime minister shortly after taking office describing the call as the “worst” he’d had, but the two leaders seem to have since built a rapport.

US presidents, including Donald Trump, are simply too busy to mess up the US-Australia relationship, according to former FBI Director James Comey.

In an interview with “7.30” on Australia’s national broadcaster that aired Thursday night, Comey told host Leigh Sales that the alliance between the two countries is far greater than any one president and that the US should still be considered a reliable and trustworthy partner under Trump.

“I know the extent and culture of the relationship between the two countries, I know it through the national security lens and law enforcement lens, and it’d be hard to screw up the relationship between the United States and Australia,” said Comey.

“No one president has enough time to screw it up, because it’s so longstanding and so beneficial to both sides.”

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesJames Comey.

The US and Australia have had diplomatic relations since 1940, and the two countries formed an official alliance after fighting together in World War II.

Since then, Australian soldiers have fought alongside US troops in every major war while playing a crucial role in the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing alliance. The US is Australia’s most important ally and security partner as well as its largest investor.

But relations between the two countries looked rocky at the beginning of Trump’s term.

In their first phone call after Trump took office, the US president reportedly hung up on Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, called a refugee agreement between the two countries “the worst deal ever,” and said that it was his “worst phone call by far.”

Months later, Turnbull flew to the US and had his first meeting with Trump cut to just 30 minutes, and the next month audio leaked of Turnbull mocking Trump.

But relations have since improved significantly as the two countries have focused on larger issues in the Asia Pacific. Earlier this year Turnbull led the largest political and business delegation to ever visit the US and even invited Trump down under.

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