During a conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, President Donald Trump said that refugees from Australia’s detention camps will become criminals as opposed to working “for the local milk people.”
The Washington Post on Thursday published a leaked transcript of President Trump’s phone conversation with Malcolm Turnbull, which took place on January 27th. During the call, Trump expressed frustration with President Obama’s agreement to take in 1,250 refugees who were being held in detention facilities off of Australia.
In a conversation about these refugees, Trump asked Turnbull why he hasn’t let them into Australia. Turnbull said, “It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product.” Trump responded, “That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.”
Soon, Trump made clear that he did not want to honor this agreement from President Obama to take in the refugees from Australia, saying that it would hurt him politically.
“This is going to kill me,” Trump said. “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.”
Malcolm Turnbull subsequently corrected Trump and said that the number of refugees is 1,250, not 2,000. Trump said that he had also heard the number is 5,000.
Trump went on to say that he hates the fact that he has to take in these refugees, adding that they are bad people who will become criminals.
“I hate taking these people,” Trump said. “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.”
Turnbull responded by saying, “I would not be so sure about that.” Trump then told Turnbull that he was elected to end bad deals like this one, although he ultimately felt he had to honor the refugee agreement.
“Look, I do not know how you got them to sign a deal like this, but that is how they lost the election,” Trump said. “They said I had no way to 270 and I got 306. That is why they lost the election, because of stupid deals like this. ”
Trump also asked Turnbull if Australia knows who the refugees are.
“Does anybody know who these people are?” Trump asked. “Who are they? Where do they come from? Are they going to become the Boston bomber in five years? Or two years? Who are these people?”
Turnbull explained to Trump that “[w]e know exactly who they are” and that these people are economic refugees. Turnbull also said that the Boston bombers “were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.” Trump responded, “They were from wherever they were.”
Ending this heated discussion about refugees, Trump once again expressed concern with the political implications of the deal.
“Yes, I will be seen as a weak and ineffective leader in my first week by these people,” Trump said. “This is a killer.”
President Trump in February called the notion that his conversation with Malcolm Turnbull was heated “fake news.” In the transcript released today, Trump tells Turnbull, “I spoke to Putin, Merkel, Abe of Japan, to France today, and this was my most unpleasant call…”