The Eight Best (Deeply Cooked) Moments From The Trump-Turnbull Phone Call
The full transcript of the infamous phone conversation between President Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has finally been revealed, and ooh boy it’s worse than we could have possibly imagined.
The convo revolves around Turnbull trying to send refugees Australia has been locking up in offshore detention centres to the US, which sets an extremely gross tone. Trump isn’t happy with the deal and tries to wriggle out of it, while sending a few healthy sledges Australia’s way.
So what are the highlights and who
won lost? Strap in.
Trump: Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?
This is perhaps the most devastating line in what is an incredibly bizarre interview. Trump delivers it after Turnbull tries to convince him to take up to 2,000 refugees from Nauru and Manus Island that Australia has been imprisoning for three years.
It’s devastating precisely because it is absolutely the most rational response when someone explains Australia’s policy of mandatory, offshore detention of people seeking asylum. But it’s coming from Trump, someone who doesn’t exactly give off rational vibes.
This is Donald ‘Ban The Muslims And Build The Wall’ Trump flummoxed at the depravity of Australia’s refugee policy. It’s bleak stuff and should be a massive wake up call.
Trump: That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.
“You are worse than I am”.
Let that sink in. Donald Trump is telling the Prime Minister he is worse than he is on the question of immigration. This doesn’t even need more explanation.
Trump: 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.
Ok, this one needs a bit of unpacking. First up Trump refers to the refugees as people “in prison” and Turnbull doesn’t correct him, which is basically an admission of how cooked our refugee policy.
But he’s also stumbled onto a pretty pertinent point. If these refugees are “good” enough to be sent to the US, why doesn’t the Australian government just bring them here? As hard as it is to acknowledge, Trump has a decent point. When Turnbull tries to explain that the refugees are not “bad” people Trump cuts him off by saying “Well, maybe you should let them out of prison”. Damn straight.
The highlight in this quote though is the last line: “They are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.”
What the fuck are local milk people?
local milk people is my favorite jack white side project pic.twitter.com/lXFYn2TAEV
— Brian Barrett (@brbarrett) August 3, 2017
— Chris Person (@Papapishu) August 3, 2017
I was asleep for a few hours, is "local milk people" Trump's new way of referring to women
— Andi Zeisler (@andizeisler) August 3, 2017
Turnbull: Look, you and I have a lot of mutual friends.
This moment is genuinely funny because it sounds like Turnbull has Facebook-stalked Trump. It’s a classic/creepy first date move to try and demonstrate that you’ve got something in common, and because you know some of the same people you obviously aren’t a weirdo.
Except, of course, you do come across like a weirdo.
Sound more desperate, Malcolm.
Trump: Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems — you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men.
Turnbull: They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries.
Trump: They were from wherever they were.
Trump doesn’t know where the Boston bombers came from! Or he just doesn’t care! Or his pro-Russia pivot means he can’t acknowledge the truth!
“They were from wherever they were.” I mean, it’s no “Ask not what your country can do for you” but it’s still iconic.
Trump: What is the thing with boats? Why do you discriminate against boats? No, I know, they come from certain regions. I get it.
This is another great bit of accidental honesty from Trump. You can pinpoint the exact moment he realises the truth behind our refugee policy: it’s about keeping brown people out.
“Why do you hate boats….. Ohhhhhh I get it. Nice.”
Turnbull: Do you want to talk about Syria and DPRK?
Trump: [Inaudible] this is crazy.
Turnbull: You can count on me. I will be there again and again.
So after being torn to shreds by Trump over this incredibly dumb deal, and having to acknowledge the huge flaws in the logic underpinning Australia’s refugee policy, Turnbull ends up sycophantically sucking up to him.
In his desperation to banish refugees Turnbull has signed a blank cheque and handed it over to Donald Trump. What does “I will be there again and again” actually mean? Are we signing up for some wild new military adventures? Pledging our support to whatever wild new foreign policy Trump comes up with?
It’s actually a fitting way to end the conversation because it perfectly sums up our relationship with the US. We beg them for scraps while desperately reaffirming how subservient we are. It’s pathetic.
So Who Won?
We all lost. Everyone has lost from this exchange. Everyone. The refugees, the electorates of the US and Australia, Turnbull, Trump, all of humanity.
There are no winners here.