President Trump is getting pounded by Democrats, media pundits and some Republicans for speaking “roughly” to a staunch U.S. ally, Australia, in a phone conversation about refugees.
At issue is a refugee swap negotiated by the Obama administration in which Australia agreed to take Catholic refugees from Central America in return for the U.S. taking up to 1,300 unwanted Muslim refugees from Australia.
Trump called the deal “dumb” and “the worst deal ever” and reportedly cut short a phone conversation with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Trump tweeted that the Obama administration “agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”
Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the deal will ultimately be honored but only after extreme vetting is applied to the refugees being held on islands offshore from Australia.
Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer told Bret Baier of Fox News that, as bad as the deal is, the United States “had to honor it.”
But terrorism experts such Robert Spencer, author of the Jihad Watch blog for the David Horowitz Freedom Center, told WND this type of sharp tone to defend American interests is exactly what has been missing under the last several U.S. administrations.
“Trump obviously wants to keep these unvetted and quite possibly dangerous refugees out of the U.S. If they end up here and kill Americans, will the left still be howling about his supposed rudeness to Turnbull?” Spencer said. “Trump is being tough with world leaders, and that is good. We have been supine for too long.”
The Washington Post cited unnamed sources for reporting that Trump hung up on Turnbull after accusing Australia of trying to export the “next Boston bombers.”
McCain weighs in against Trump
Sen. John McCain called the Australian ambassador Thursday to “reaffirm” the alliance, according to press reports in Australia.
McCain ripped Trump for the “unnecessary” and “harmful” dust-up with Australia’s prime minister, the Washington Examiner reported.
Trump reportedly told Turnbull he had spoken with four other leaders over the weekend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, and “this was the worst call by far.”
Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said Obama left a “terrible mess” for President Trump to clean up. The media should ask why the US should take 1300 Muslims who illegally tried to enter Australia, she said.
“These illegal aliens aren’t America’s problem,” Bachmann told WND. “Clearly, President Obama’s goal was to populate the U.S. with as many indigent, non-English speaking Third World immigrants as he could.”
Obama openly and routinely discriminated by preferring Muslim migrants over people from other religions, she said, then he accused Trump of applying a “religious test” for immigrants.
“Obama was part of the one-world crowd who magically believe a world without national borders will work, despite historic evidence to the contrary,” Bachmann said.
“Candidate Obama agreed with the concept of global citizenship. That is why Obama swapped migrants from Central America for Australia’s 1,300 Muslims.”
“Obama simply trafficked in a redistribution of populations to further his one-world agenda,” she added. “Now President Trump has to untangle Obama’s dangerous and costly immigration mess.”
Ann Corcoran, who follows the refugee industry at Refugee Resettlement Watch, noted that CNN’s coverage of the Trump-Turnbull row was fraught with errors and a liberal agenda.
“Australia does take refugees, CNN said this morning that they don’t, but the Australian public doesn’t want these migrants (mostly Muslim men) who tried to get into Australia by boat,” she wrote.
The question has to be asked, Corcoran said, if these refugees are being detained offshore and considered too dangerous for Australia, why are they good enough to resettle in American neighborhoods?
Watch CNN’s coverage of the phone call between President Trump and PM Turnbull
The boat people, from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Burma and Iran, were interdicted at sea and sent to detention on offshore islands where they failed to be granted asylum to live in Australia.
“The Australian public does not want them and Turnbull is trying to save his political skin while human rights activists agitate and blast him from one side and the sensible Australian people from the other,” Corcoran noted.
“These are illegal migrants who failed to gain asylum in Australia! Australia doesn’t want them. Why are they our problem? And, what are we getting from the deal? Supposedly Australia will take a number of Central American migrants parked in Costa Rica right now. So why are those people our problem?”
Dick Manasseri, spokesman for Secure Michigan, a group that seeks to educate Michigan residents about the spread of Shariah law, said the Australian deal, if it goes through, would seem to be a case for Trump to try out his “extreme vetting.”
“I can’t imagine we would take these people in until the extreme vetting procedures are completely defined and implemented across the board,” he said.
He said Michigan has received about 12 percent of the more than 17,000 Syrian refugees sent to the U.S. since the start of the Syrian civil war, with Macomb and Oakland counties getting the brunt of that influx.
He said Michigan, despite the “welcoming” attitude of its GOP Gov. Rick Snyder, cannot continue to be the dumping ground for Third World refugees selected by the United Nations. And then on top of it, Obama agreed to take another country’s castoffs.
“Our focus is on Shariah, and the assumption is that the extreme vetting would focus on Shariah. We are educating people that Shariah basically means women are treated as property and are not free under Shariah, so we are for freedom and if you find a collection of people who are Shariah-compliant why would we bring that people group into America? They believe only Shariah law is appropriate. If you are Shariah compliant you believe Shariah should supersede the Constitution of the United States, and why would we ever do that? So these people need to be held at bay until that extreme vetting is in place.”
Manasseri said there are also mental health issues to be considered.
“We have significant mental-health challenges in the United States, so to bring people in, although we talk about the humanitarian aspect, we have to acknowledge there’s a significant mental health component there with people who have been buffeted around the world in camps and then you bring them into the open population of American neighborhoods? So they need to be vetted for not only Shariah but for mental health issues. This is something Donald Trump should be very aggressive about putting barriers in place to make sure this doesn’t impact the average American citizen. This is what governments are supposed to do is protect their people.”
Turnbull himself resisted any criticism of Trump or his policies when pressed by reporters.
“It is not my job as prime minister of Australia to run a commentary on the domestic policies of other countries,” he told Australian reporters.
Trump defended his “tough” approach to speaking with foreign leaders as the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday.
“We will not allow a beachhead of intolerance to spread in our country,” Trump said. “We want people to come into our country, but we want people who will love us, not to hate us or to hate our values.”
The call with Turnbull had reportedly been scheduled to last an hour but Trump cut it short after 25 minutes when Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull tried to turn to subjects such as Syria.