Try as you might, it's difficult if not impossible to ignore the actions of Donald Trump in the first two weeks of his presidency. You would like to think that as president of the United States he would act and react in a manner more in line with his new responsibilities, but the reality is that he's the same old Donald Trump — tweets and all.
Whether he likes it or not, the reality is that the "shtick" he used in negotiating deals in New York and elsewhere is not appropriate for the president of the U.S. in dealing with the heads of other countries, especially those who are long-time allies of the U.S. He's rude and crude and seems to enjoy that image, whether he's talking to the president of Mexico or the prime minister of Australia — or tweeting in the middle of the night about some real or imagined affront from someone he considers an adversary.
In his most recent venture in international politics, according to an article in the Washington Post by Greg Miller and Philip Rucker, Trump "blasted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull" over a refugee agreement involving 1,250 refugees and then he abruptly ended the telephone conversation after 25 minutes in what was expected to be an hour-long call.
At one point in the conversation, Trump informed Turnbull that he had spoken with four other world leaders that day, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, and that this was the worst call by far.
"This is the worst deal ever," Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center. Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily banning the admission of refugees, complained that he was going to get killed politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the next Boston bombers.
True to form, President Trump sent a tweet that night that said, "Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed tlo take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal."
According to the Washington Post article, U.S. officials said that Trump has behaved similarly in conversations with leaders of other countries, including Mexico. But his treatment of Turnbull was particularly striking because of the tight bond between the United States and Australia, countries that share intelligence, support one another diplomatically and have fought together in wars including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The article noted that "the characterizations provide insight into Trump's temperament and approach to the diplomatic requirements of his job as the nation's chief executive, a role in which he continues to employ both the uncompromising tactics he honed as a real estate developer and the bombastic style he exhibited as a reality television personality."
Although a White House spokesman declined to comment, the article stated that a senior administration official acknowledged that the conversation with Turnbull had been hostile and charged, but emphasized that most of Trump's calls with foreign leaders, including the heads of Japan, Germany, France and Russia, have been productive and pleasant.