Aug 3, 2017

Trump’s calls with Mexican and Australian leaders leaked

Alex Brandon / AP

The Washington Post obtained transcripts of President Trump's calls with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in the first days of his presidency back in January. In them, Trump expressed frustration over accepting refugees from Australian detention centers under a humanitarian deal negotiated by the Obama administration and candidly discussed the Mexican border 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.

The big story: Trump branded the border wall as "the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important." He also repeatedly asked Peña Nieto not to publicly oppose Trump's demand that Mexico pay for the wall, telling him the funding would "come out in the wash, and that is okay."

Not normal: The calls remain classified, so the fact that the transcripts made it to the Post is a serious issue. Both documents include notes that the transcripts had been reviewed by Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg Jr., the chief of staff for the National Security Council.

Other highlights from the Peña Nieto call:

  • "On the wall, you and I both have a political problem. My people stand up and say, 'Mexico will pay for the wall,' and your people probably say something in a similar but slightly different language."
  • "We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because the drugs are being sold for less money than candy. I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den."

His call with Turnbull:

  • "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."
  • "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."
  • "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."

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