In case it wasn't already obvious, Donald Trump has built a reputation for saying interesting things in public addresses as well as interviews published in news media. But The Washington Post obtained a transcript of Trump's calls with Australia's and Mexico's leaders, and some of the quotes in their conversations have caused controversy.
The transcripts shared by the Post revealed that Trump argued with Peña Nieto on funding for his infamous and yet-to-be-erected wall, telling the Mexican leader what he cannot say to the news media. "You cannot say that to the press," Trump reportedly told Peña Nieto. "The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that."
In addition to arguing with Nieto, Trump's conversations with Turnbull revealed tension and a particularly hostile attitude from Trump's end. But all wasn't acerbic. The transcript revealed that Trump described his call with Russian leader Vladimir Putin as "pleasant."
Apart from being eyebrow-raising in their nature, these quotes from Trump can give us a good glimpse into the president's vantage and approach toward foreign policy. It is worth noting that, according to a White House official who spoke with The Washington Post on condition of anonymity, Trump's relations with the Mexican and Australian leaders have improved.
1. "You Cannot Say That To The Press"
The transcript revealed that Trump had reportedly asked Peña Nieto to stop saying Mexico wouldn't pay for the wall. "You cannot say that to the press. The press is going to go with that, and I cannot live with that," Trump apparently implored the Mexican president.
2. The Great Wall Would Be Funded — "Somehow"
The financing for Trump's "big beautiful wall" "will work out in the formula in somehow" reportedly according to the president. Trump also reportedly said, "It will come out in the wash and that is OK." That "formula" was not expanded upon in the transcript.
3. "I Do Not Want To Meet With You Guys Anymore."
Trump apparently threatened not to meet Nieto if he did not stop publicly announcing that Mexico wouldn't pay for Trump's wall. "If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall," Trump reportedly told Nieto, "then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that."
4. The Wall Is "The Least Important."
One of Trump's main campaign promises was to build a wall between the United States and Mexico but in the transcript, Trump had reportedly said that the wall "the least important thing we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important."
5. "This Is The Most Unpleasant Call All Day."
Trump apparently described a call between himself and Turnbull in negative terms. "I have been making these calls all day, and this is the most unpleasant call all day," Trump apparently said.
6. "This Is Going To Kill Me."
On the contentious subject of refugee admission in the United States, Trump reportedly told 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.”
7. "We Will Almost Become The Fathers Of Our Country."
Perhaps to soften Nieto on the issues of the border wall, Trump reportedly said, "We will almost become the fathers of our country — almost, not quite, OK?"
8. "You Are Worse Than I Am."
Trump apparently praised Australia's highly criticized treatment of refugees by turning them away from the shores and said that it "is a good idea. We should do that too." The transcript also revealed how Trump reportedly attempted to laud Turnbull on the subject by saying, "You are worse than I am."
9. "I Won New Hampshire Because New Hampshire Is A Drug-Infested Den"
In another case of extolling himself, Trump reportedly spoke of his imaginary victory in New Hampshire. "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." Just a small correction: Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire.
So far, there has been no comment from the White House on the transcript. But it seems like Trump has been having a considerably difficult time striking amicable conversations.