Australia seeking to export the "next Boston bombers": Trump
DONALD Trump reportedly blasted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during their conversation on the weekend, saying "this was the worst call by far".
The US President was apparently angry about having to honour the refugee deal with Australia and blew up at Mr Turnbull over the agreement.
According to The Washington Post, what should have been a pleasant hour-long call was ended after 25 minutes when Mr Trump abruptly hung up on the PM.
"This is the worst deal ever," Mr Trump reportedly said about the refugee deal, complaining that he was "going to get killed" politically. He also accused Australia of seeking to export the "next Boston bombers".
In a conversation that was characterised as "hostile and charged", Mr Trump also apparently told the PM he had spoken with four other world leaders that day, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, and "this was the worst call by far".
Mr Trump also indulged in discussion about his election win and the size of his inauguration crowd, before ending the call when Mr Turnbull suggested discuss the conflict in Syria and other foreign issues.
The US President appears to have taken a similar tone with other world leaders, even threatening to send US troops to Mexico to stop "bad hombres down there".
When asked about the call during a press conference this morning, Mr Turnbull said he was not going to comment on the conversation.
"I'm not going to comment on a conversation between myself and the President of the United States, other than what we have said publicly," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"You can surely understand the reasons for that ... it's better that these things, these conversations are conducted candidly, frankly, privately."
He said Australia's relationship with the US was "very strong".
"The fact we received the assurance that we did, the fact that it was confirmed, the very extensive engagement we have with the administration underlines the closeness of the alliance," he said.
"Australians know me very well - I stand up for Australia in every forum - public or private."
After the call, Mr Turnbull told media that Mr Trump had agreed to honour the deal struck with former president Barack Obama for the US to take refugees from Nauru and Manus Island.
But since then, there has been confusion over whether Mr Trump actually intends to do this.
This morning, the White House confirmed in a written statement to the ABC that the US President was "still considering" whether to take refugees from Australia.
It came after a White House source told the ABC Mr Trump hadn't decided whether to honour the agreement, just hours after White House spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed the deal in a press conference.
Mr Turnbull continued to express confidence in the agreement yesterday and pointed to the statement made by Mr Trump's spokesman and his own conversation with the President.
"As you've heard from the President's own spokesman this morning, the Trump administration has committed to progress with the arrangements to honour the deal … and that was the assurance the President gave me when we spoke on the weekend," Mr Turnbull told the National Press Club.
But the ABC is reporting it has now obtained a written statement from the White House that says: "The President is still considering whether or not he will move forward with this deal at this time."
The twists don't stop there. Shortly afterwards, the ABC reportedly received a statement from the State Department that the Trump administration would honour the deal to accept some refugees.
When asked about the reports, Mr Turnbull said today he could only say what he had said before.
"I received the assurance that I did from the President himself," he said.
"That assurance was confirmed by the President's spokesman in the briefing room of the White House. Our respective officials, are continuing to work on the implementation of the arrangements."
News.com.au has contacted the White House for comment.
It is an awkward development for the Prime Minister, with The Australian also reporting yesterday that the Trump administration was "not happy" about honouring the deal, which was negotiated with former president Barack Obama.
It was thought that taking the refugees would send a conflicting message in light of Mr Trump's executive order that placed a temporary ban on refugees being admitted to the US, along with other strict US border measures targeting seven countries including Iran, Iraq and Syria.