President Trump called himself “the world’s greatest person” in a phone conversation with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, during which he attempted to refuse 1,250 refugees, according to recently leaked transcripts of the call.
A week after taking office in January, Trump called Turnbull, a chat that attracted attention at the time because of leaked accounts of Trump’s aggressiveness toward the fairly benign ally.
The topic was immigration and how to stop it, a pet cause of the nationalist president, who has just announced his ban against travelers from six Muslim-majority countries. Trump wanted to cancel a deal signed by President Obama, which would have allowed 1,250 Australian refugees to emigrate to the United States.
“Here I am calling for a ban, where I am not letting anybody in – and we take 2,000 people,” Trump told Turnbull, per the transcript. “Really, it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want, and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground.”
Turnbull attempted to make his case. Trump replied: “Malcolm, why is this so important? I do not understand. 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, and I agree I can vet them, but that puts me in a bad position.”
Turnbull tried again, saying that going through with the the deal would show Trump was a man who honored commitments. “Ok, this shows me to be a dope. We are like a dumping ground for the rest of the world. I look so foolish doing this. It is horrible for me. I do not know where they find these people to make these stupid deals. I’m going to get killed on this thing”.
The president then labeled the conversation “my most unpleasant call.”
Yesterday’s leaked transcripts also documented Trump’s first call with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto, in which he tried to convince Nieto to stop saying that Mexico would not pay for Trump’s promised border wall.