The best quotes from the most embarrassing Trump phone call yet

Thursday 03 August 2017 16:00
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Picture:(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

United States President Donald Trump's recent interview with the Wall Street Journal raised a few eyebrows internationally.

The quite frankly staggering quotes betrayed a level of ignorance and incoherence that was seen by many as a national embarrassment.

He fabricated praise from the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America, and advised that a sound unemployment policy was getting people to move around 500 miles.

So when a leaked phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull appeared online, you won't be surprised to learn that some of the quotes from Mr Trump were pretty telling:

1. Current world affairs:

We do have similar backgrounds and it seems to be working in this climate – it is a crazy climate.

Let me tell you this, it is an evil time but it is a complex time because we do not have uniforms standing in front of us.

Instead, we have people in disguise.

It is brutal. This ISIS thing – it is something we are going to devote a lot of energy to it.

I think we are going to be very successful.

2. Refugees, migration, and honouring the commitments of the nation:

TURNBULL:

Can you hear me out Mr. President?

TRUMP:

Yeah, go ahead.

TURNBULL

Yes, the agreement, which the Vice President just called the Foreign Minister about less than 24 hours ago and said your Administration would be continuing, does not require you to take 2,000 people. It does not require you to take any. It requires, in return, for us to do a number of things for the United States – this is a big deal, I think we should respect deals.

TRUMP

Who made the deal? Obama?

TURNBULL

Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your Executive Order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people — none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

TRUMP

Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

TURNBULL

Okay, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people —

TRUMP

That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

TURNBULL

This is our experience.

TRUMP:

Because you do not want to destroy your country. Look at what has happened in Germany. Look at what is happening in these countries. These people are crazy to let this happen. I spoke to Merkel today, and believe me, she wishes she did not do it. Germany is a mess because of what happened.

TURNBULL:

I agree with you, letting one million Syrians walk into their country. It was one of the big factors in the Brexit vote, frankly.

TRUMP:

Well, there could be two million people coming in Germany. Two million people. Can you believe it? It will never be the same.

3. On refugee commitments:

Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me. I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. And now I am agreeing to take 2,000 people and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position. It makes me look so bad and I have only been here a week.

TURNBULL:

With great respect, that is not right – It is not 2,000.

TRUMP:

Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well.

TURNBULL:

The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting. I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.

TRUMP:

No, I do not want say that. I will just have to say that unfortunately I will have to live with what was said by Obama. I will say I hate it. Look, I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call because I will be honest with you. I hate taking these people. I guarantee you they are bad. That is why they are in prison right now. They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.

4. International diplomacy:

I am doing this because Obama made a bad deal. I am not doing this because it fits into my Executive Order. I am taking 2,000 people from Australia who are in prison and the day before I signed an Executive Order saying that we are not taking anybody in. We are not taking anybody in, those days are over.

TURNBULL:

But can I say to you, there is nothing more important in business or politics than a deal is a deal. Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.

TRUMP:

Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election. They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. You have brokered many a stupid deal in business and I respect you, but I guarantee that you broke many a stupid deal. This is a stupid deal. This deal will make me look terrible.

5. Vetting refugees:

Does anybody know who these people are? Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?

TURNBULL:

Let me explain. We know exactly who they are. They have been on Nauru or Manus for over three years and the only reason we cannot let them into Australia is because of our commitment to not allow people to come by boat. Otherwise we would have let them in. If they had arrived by airplane and with a tourist visa then they would be here.

TRUMP:

Malcom [sic], but they are arrived on a boat?

TURNBULL:

Correct, we have stopped the boats.

TRUMP:

Give them to the United States. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I have been here for a period of time, I just want this to stop. I look so foolish doing this. It [sic] know it is good for you but it is bad for me. It is horrible for me. This is what I am trying to stop. I do not want to have more San Bernardino’s or World Trade Centers. I could name 30 others, but I do not have enough time.

TURNBULL:

These guys are not in that league. They are economic refugees.

TRUMP:

Okay, good. Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.

TURNBULL:

They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.

TRUMP:

They were from wherever they were.

6. On Australian border policy:

What is the thing with boats?

Why do you discriminate against boats?

No, I know, they come from certain regions.

I get it.

7. On public perception

I do not know what he got out of it. We never get anything out of it – START Treaty, the Iran deal. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I am going to get killed on this thing.

TURNBULL:

You will not.

TRUMP:

Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people. This is a killer.

TURNBULL:

You can certainly say that it was not a deal that you would have done, but you are going to stick with it.

TRUMP:

I have no choice to say that about it. Malcom [sic], I am going to say that I have no choice but to honor my predecessor’s deal.

I think it is a horrible deal, a disgusting deal that I would have never made. It is an embarrassment to the United States of America and you can say it just the way I said it.

I will say it just that way. As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]. I have had it.

I have been making these calls all day and this is the most unpleasant call all day. Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous.

8. On Syria and North Korea

TURNBULL:

Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?

TRUMP

[inaudible] this is crazy.

TURNBULL

Thank you for your commitment. It is very important to us.

TRUMP

It is important to you and it is embarrassing to me.

It is an embarrassment to me, but at least I got you off the hook.

So you put me back on the hook.

TURNBULL

You can count on me. I will be there again and again.

TRUMP

I hope so. Okay, thank you Malcolm.

TURNBULL

Okay, thank you.

You can read the full transcript on the Washington Post.

More: The best quotes from the most embarrassing Trump interview yet

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