6 Totally Bonkers Exchanges From Trump's Calls With Mexico and Australia
Leaks have been a constant problem for President Donald Trump. While White House staffers continue to frantically finger-point and play musical chairs, the American people are being treated to daily batches of information that are quite clearly not meant for public consumption. Case in point: on Aug. 3, The Washington Post published transcripts it was given by someone inside the White House of two phone calls Trump made earlier this year. One was with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and the other with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The readouts of these calls make clear that the president uses the same bombastic tone he uses with his detractors with the leaders of foreign nations and doesn't feel it necessary to pander to anyone outside of his base. As a result, they make for some pretty wild (and often unbelievable) reading.
Here, we've pulled together six of the most downright bonkers exchanges that Trump had with the two men. And as you read through, be sure to remember that this isn't speculation or hearsay — these are real, recorded conversations that the president unquestionably had with the president of Mexico and the prime minister of Australia in the year 2017.
Trump and Peña Nieto: "You cannot say that to the press."
Peña Nieto: " . . . And on the other issue, Mr. President, on trade I think we are moving forward in a very positive fashion, especially through the dialogue both of our teams are holding. You have a very big mark on our back, Mr. President, regarding who pays for the wall. This is what I suggest, Mr. President — let us stop talking about the wall. I have recognized the right of any government to protect its borders as it deems necessary and convenient. But my position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall."
Trump: "But you cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that. You cannot say that to the press because I cannot negotiate under those circumstances."
Trump and Turnbull: "The world's greatest person that does not want to let people into the country."
Trump: "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."
Trump and Peña Nieto: "I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den."
Trump: "And we have the drug lords in Mexico that are knocking the hell out of our country. They are sending drugs to Chicago, Los Angeles, and to New York. Up in New Hampshire — I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den — is coming from the southern border. So we have a lot of problems with Mexico farther than the economic problem. We are becoming a drug-addicted nation and most the drugs are coming from Mexico or certainly from the southern border. But I will say this — you have that problem too. You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with, and we are willing to help you with that big-league. But they have to be knocked out and you have not done a good job of knocking them out."
Trump and Turnbull: "Why do you discriminate against boats?"
Turnbull: " . . . The only people that we do not take are people who come by boat. So we would rather take a not very attractive guy that help you out then to take a Noble [sic] Peace Prize winner that comes by boat. That is the point."
Trump: "What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it."
Turnbull: "No, let me explain why. The problem with the boats it that you are basically outsourcing your immigration program to people smugglers and also you get thousands of people drowning at sea. So what we say is, we will decide which people get to come to Australia who are refugees, economic migrants, businessmen, whatever. We decide. That is our decision. We are a generous multicultural immigration nation like the United States but the government decides, the people's representatives decides. So that is the point. I am a highly transactional businessman like you and I know the deal has to work for both sides. Now Obama thought this deal worked for him and he drove a hard bargain with us — that it was agreed with Obama more than a year ago in the Oval Office, long before the election. The principles of the deal were agreed to."
Trump: "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 and Peña Nieto: "Do not worry about Canada."
Peña Nieto: " . . . I think we can continue working towards building the construction of a new framework to continue our trade relationship among the three countries that are part of NAFTA."
Trump: "Well, Canada is no problem — do not worry about Canada, do not even think about them. That is a separate thing and they are fine and we have had a very fair relationship with Canada. It has been much more balanced and much more fair. So we do not have to worry about Canada, we do not even think about them."
Trump and Turnbull: "Putin was a pleasant call. This is ridiculous."
Trump: " . . . 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."
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."