Newly published transcripts of January phone calls between President Trump and the leaders of Mexico and Australia offer an inside look into how the recently inaugurated Trump communicated with his international counterparts.
Published Thursday by the Washington Post, the transcripts reveal that Trump pressured Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto about a campaign pledge to get Mexico to pay for a border wall between that country and the United States. Trump also feuded with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a plan to accept hundreds of refugees from offshore detention centers near Australia.
Here are five of the most important quotes from Trump’s calls with Peña Nieto and Turnbull.
Trump called New Hampshire a ‘drug-infested den’ and blamed it in part on Mexico
“Up in New Hampshire—I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den—is coming from the southern border,” Trump told Peña Nieto, referencing the state’s opioid crisis. “But I will say this—you have that problem too. You have some pretty tough hombres in Mexico that you may need help with, and we are willing to help you with that big-league. But they have to be knocked out and you have not done a good job of knocking them out.
“We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because drugs are being sold for less money than candy because there is so much of it,” Trump added.
Trump won the New Hampshire Republican primary, but narrowly lost the state in the 2016 general election.
Trump pressed Peña Nieto to stop saying Mexico will not pay for a border wall
“But the fact is we are both in a little bit of a political bind because I have to have Mexico pay for the wall–I have to,” Trump told Peña Nieto, referencing his campaign promise to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“I have recognized the right of any government to protect its borders as it deems necessary and convenient,” Peña Nieto later responded. “But my position has been and will continue to be very firm saying that Mexico cannot pay for that wall.”
“But you cannot say that to the press,” Trump said. “The press is going to go with that and I cannot live with that.”
Trump calls himself ‘the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country’
“Malcom [sic], why is this so important? I do not understand. This is going to kill me,” Trump told Turnbull over a U.S. deal to accept hundreds of refugees. “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.”
Turnbull then told Trump that Australia’s deal with former President Obama to transfer refugees from offshore detention centers located on the Pacific islands of Nauru and Manus did not involve 2,000 people.
“Well, it is close. I have also heard like 5,000 as well,” Trump responded.
“The given number in the agreement is 1,250 and it is entirely a matter of your vetting,” Turnbull shot back. “I think that what you could say is that the Australian government is consistent with the principles set out in the Executive Order.”
Turnbull corrected Trump on the backgrounds of the Boston Marathon bombers
Still speaking about the refugee deal, Trump asked Turnbull: “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.”
“They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries,” Turnbull replied.
“They were from wherever they were,” Trump responded.
Trump cut short his call with Turnbull, saying his call with Russian President Vladimir Putin was more ‘pleasant’
“As far as I am concerned that is enough Malcom [sic]. I have had it,” Trump says. “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.”