Published: Sat, February 04, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Trump 'Fumes' At Australian PM Over Obama Refugee Deal

Trump 'Fumes' At Australian PM Over Obama Refugee Deal

Earlier in the day, White House spokesman Sean Spicer had said the USA would honor the deal made in November by the Obama administration to take 1,250 asylum-seekers from Australian detention camps, who would be subject to "extreme vetting". But that was before Trump tweeted he would study it -- adding new speculation that he might not go through with it.

The Obama administration had agreed to resettle the refugees in the United States, in return for which Australia would accept refugees from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

At least five top members of Congress who regularly deal with Australia and military and intelligence cooperation spoke with Hockey Thursday.

The reports claimed that Trump called the refugee accord as "the worst deal ever" and accused the Australian Prime Minister of trying to export the "next Boston bombers" to the U.S., before hanging up on him.

The newspaper reported that during the call, an angry Mr Trump dubbed the agreement "the worst deal ever".

The President took to Twitter to say that Iran has formally been put on notice for firing a ballistic missile. He also boasted about his electoral college win, before abruptly ending the call, which was expected to last about an hour, about 25 minutes in.

"President Trump's decision to honor the refugee agreement has not changed and Spokesman Spicer's comments stand", the State Department said.

Despite the hostility of the call, Turnbull went public with his claim that Trump had promised to honour the deal.

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"I want to make one observation about it, the report the president hung up is not correct", he said, "the call ended courteously". "The fact we received the assurance that we did, the fact that it was confirmed, the very extensive engagement we have with the new administration underlines the closeness of the alliance", he said. The executive order he signed Friday suspends the US refugee program for 120 days and orders the departments of State and Homeland Security to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency on "enhanced vetting" of those seeking refugee status.

The White House and Mexico's government have both denied those reports.

"There's a lot of talk around about the call allegedly from people that were not party to it", he said.

Malcolm Turnbull has described the US President as a "very big personality" and admitted their conversation was frank and forthright, after a hostile Donald Trump labelled it his worst call with a world leader so far.

When Mr Turnbull sought to discuss issues including the war in Syria, Mr Trump allegedly ended the call, making it far shorter than his conversations with Mr Putin, Germany leader Angela Merkel and Japan's Shinzo Abe.

There have been mixed messages from Washington all week on the state of the agreement.

During the call, Trump was joined by chief strategist Steve Bannon, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

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