US President Donald Trump thanked Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for disputing details of a Washington Post report that described a contentious phone call between the two world leaders.
“Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “Very nice!”
During Trump’s call with Turnbull over the weekend, Trump reportedly called a refugee agreement with the nation the “worst deal ever” and accused Turnbull of trying to send America the “next Boston bombers” under a deal to send refugees from Australia to the US.
Turnbull told a Sydney radio station that during the call, Trump actually pledged to honour the deal.
“I had a call with President Trump on Sunday morning our time and the president committed to honour the refugee resettlement deal that had been made by his predecessor Barack Obama,” Turnbull told the radio station.
But Trump tweeted Wednesday night: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”
When he was asked about the tweet on the radio show, Turnbull reiterated that Trump had pledged to honour the deal in the call.
He then disputed a detail in the Washington Post report that the president hung up on him and characterised the call as “frank and forthright” rather than contentious.
“As far as the call is concerned, I’m very disappointed that there has been a leak of purported details of the call in Washington, but I want to make one observation about it,” Turnbull said. “The report that the president hung up is not correct. The call ended courteously.”
He continued: “As far as the nature of the discussion, it was very frank and forthright.”
Turnbull also described the call as a whole as “courteous.”
“There’s a lot of talk around about the call allegedly from people that were not party to it,” he said. “These calls generally remain, naturally, completely confidential.”
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