White House reportedly stops releasing Trump's calls with foreign leaders after spate of embarrassing leaks

Mark Wilson/Getty ImagesPresident Donald Trump.
  • The practice of releasing public summaries of Donald Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders are in limbo after the White House reportedly decided to suspend them.
  • The calls with foreign leaders are usually planned ahead and scripted, transcribed, and then parsed into a public statement.
  • Transcript leaks of the calls and embarrassing details painted an unflattering picture of Trump’s diplomatic efforts throughout his presidency.

The White House has reportedly decided to suspend the practice of releasing public summaries of Donald Trump’s phone calls with foreign leaders, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Calls with foreign leaders are usually planned ahead and scripted, requiring consultation with senior advisers, such as the national security adviser. The call is eventually transcribed and then parsed into a public statement.

The “readouts” of Trump’s calls are often sterile and terse, but they can also offer a glimpse of the White House’s foreign policy agenda – or what it wants the public to know.

Other countries have also published their phone calls with world leaders. In one embarrassing instance, Canada released a phone call that was reportedly made, unbeknownst to the White House, between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Trump in April 2017.

White House officials were reportedly unaware of the call until Canadian officials released their summary, according to The Washington Post, and had to rely on Trump’s memory to fill in details of their own readout.

Trump trudeauLeon Neal/Getty ImagesWhite House officials didn’t know Trump and Trudeau spoke on the phone until Canadian officials released their summary.

Trump was reportedly also enraged after The Post published leaked transcripts of his calls with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in August 2017. The transcripts portrayed Trump in an unflattering light and contained his steep trade demands to Peña Nieto.

The last public readout of Trump’s calls was made in June, after Trump spoke with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

The president has spoken to at least two other leaders in the past two weeks, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The White House confirmed that the calls took place but refused to give further details on the conversations.

It is unclear whether the White House’s ban was temporary or permanent, CNN reported.

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