The president’s exchanges with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull just a week after the inauguration were widely reported upon at the time. But transcripts offer new detail on the new president’s blunt exchanges with the U.S. allies.
WASHINGTON — Transcripts of President Donald Trump’s conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia in January offer new details on how the president parried with the leaders over the politics of the border wall and refugee policy — with random asides on such subjects as drug abuse in New Hampshire.
The president’s exchanges with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull just a week after the inauguration were widely reported upon at the time. But transcripts published Thursday by The Washington Post offer new detail on the new president’s blunt exchanges with the U.S. allies. Two Republicans, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bob Corker of Tennessee, said the release of the transcripts is a disservice to Trump.
In his conversation with Pena Nieto, Trump urges the Mexican president to stop saying his country won’t pay for the wall along the southern U.S. border, and the two agree to stop talking about the subject in public.
In the Turnbull conversation, the two leaders discuss a 2016 refugee deal between their nations, under which the Obama administration agreed to accept asylum seekers who had been trying to get to Australia. Turnbull insists to Trump that the deal is still on. Trump complains that the deal makes him look bad and says he had a more pleasant conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Most Read Stories
Highlights from the conversations:
POLITICS OF THE WALL
Trump acknowledges that talk about building a wall at the US-Mexico border is more about image management than economic policy.
“Believe it or not, this is the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important talk about,” he said. “But in terms of dollars – or pesos – it is the least important thing.”
He acknowledges both leaders are “in a little bit of a political bind” because each has vowed not to pay for the wall.
“If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that,” he…