Recall that Trump's critics hit him hard for using the phrase “bad hombres” during a presidential debate in October, so it is striking that he would repeat a variation in a call with the president of Mexico. Trump's dim appraisal of New Hampshire recalls his description of “American carnage” in his inauguration speech seven days earlier. It's not clear what win Trump was referencing. He lost the state by less than half a percentage point to Hillary Clinton but won the Republican primary there.
This is extraordinary language for the leader of one friendly country to say to another. The whole point of these phone calls, days after Trump was inaugurated, was for the two leaders to get to know each other and start things off on the best possible note.Trump steamrolled that objective when he compared his conversation with the Australian prime minister, leader of one of America's staunchest allies, to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had just meddled in the U.S. election, and deemed Putin more pleasant.The Post published a summary of this conversation in February, reporting that "25 minutes into what was expected to be an hour-long call, Trump abruptly ended it.” Now the full transcript is public.
The proposal that caught Peña Nieto by surprise was a tariff on goods imported from Mexico to the United States. Trump agreed that a tariff had not been discussed in talks between White House adviser Jared Kushner and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray but said Peña Nieto should have expected it, based on Trump's campaign rhetoric.Note the way Trumps slips in a boast about his crowd size.
In both phone calls, Trump seems singularly focused on bad people getting into the U.S. and how bad it will make him look. He had just signed an executive order banning travelers from seven majority-Muslim nations (which courts would later block). His logic is that if he agrees to take in 1,250 immigrants who landed in Australia, per a deal the Obama administration made, he'll look like a hypocrite. Especially if Trump's greatest fear is realized and one of these people turns into the “Boston bomber” (his words) or the next “San Bernardino or World Trade Centers” (also his words).Nevermind that Turnbull explains to Trump, several times, that these immigrants were vetted both by Australian and U.S. security officials.
Trump loves to brag about his victory, but it is not clear where he came up with his statistic about Cuban American voters. According to the Pew Research Center, Trump did win 54 percent of the Cuban American vote in Florida, but the White House has not been able to back up Trump's claim to have won 84 percent of the Cuban American vote nationally.On the overall Latino vote, Trump is in the ballpark. He got 28 percent of the vote, according to exit polling.
In these phone calls, Trump also displays a very shallow understanding of foreign policy.Here, he seems baffled by Australia's policy of rejecting refugees who arrive by boat, despite the fact that Turnbull had also explained several times that it's a deterrent policy: Anyone who tries to migrate to Australia by water will automatically get kicked out. “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 Nobel Prize winning genius, we will not let you in,” Turnbull finally says.
Trump's habit of talking about himself in the third person is on display here — as is his sense of humor. His line about Mexicans dancing in the streets “in reverse” appears to be a joke about protests against his election.
This was about the Australian refugee deal again. Trump's singular focus on letting bad people into the country seems derived from his concern for his public reputation. Trump ran on reining in immigration, and he seemed worried that honoring a deal made by the Obama administration would hurt his credibility, or at the very least make him look like a hypocrite.“This is going to kill me,” he told Turnbull. “I am the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country. … It makes me look so bad, and I have only been here a week.”