Donald Trump has tweeted his disapproval of a “dumb deal” to take refugees from Australia just hours after details emerged of a hostile conversation he had with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on the weekend.
The US President was apparently angry about having to honour an agreement to take refugees from Manus Island and Nauru, and blasted Mr Turnbull over the deal during a call on Saturday.
Details of the angry conversation came to light after days of conflicting reports about whether the US would honour the deal negotiated by the Obama administration.
Following an awkward press conference where Mr Turnbull refused to comment about the discussion, the US Embassy in Australia released a statement that the deal would go ahead.
But about 3pm (AEDT) Mr Trump took to Twitter to reveal his personal thoughts, posting: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”. In comments this afternoon on Sydney radio station 2GB, Mr Turnbull said he was surprised and disappointed there was an apparent leak of the details of the call in Washington, and that these types of calls usually remained completely confidential.
“The report that the President hung up is not correct, the call ended courteously,” Mr Turnbull said.
But when asked whether Mr Trump actually said “this was the worst call by far” during the conversation, Mr Turnbull said he did not want to go into any further details.
The PM also remained confident about the deal going ahead despite Mr Trump’s tweet, saying there was a commitment from the President, confirmed several times by the government.
Talking later to 3AW in Melbourne, Mr Turnbull said the alliance between Australia and the US was “absolutely rock solid” and “so strong”.