jueves, 2 de febrero de 2017

Trump on combative calls with foreign leaders: 'Don't worry about it'

The president is under fire after leaks emerged about his aggressive phones calls with U.S. allies Mexico and Australia.
President Donald Trump on Thursday tried to dial back the uproar over his tough talk in contentious private calls with foreign leaders, saying he knows how to “fix things,” including the world’s problems.

“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it,” Trumpsaid during remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. “Just don’t worry about it.”

It was a simple suggestion to quell concerns over the complex matter of foreign policy, an issue Trump has appeared to bungle in recent days, straining relationships with American allies and potentially emboldening the nation’s adversaries. But he insisted he is in firm control.

“The world is in trouble, but we’re gonna straighten it out, OK? That’s what I do, I fix things,” Trump said at the prayer breakfast.

The latest furor kicked off Wednesday afternoon, when National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said that Trump’s administration is “officially putting Iran on notice” following a recent missile test, and senior officials later refused to rule out military action against the Islamic Republic.

The concern over the Trump administration’s posture toward foreign adversaries and allies was then heightened after an Associated Press report emerged that Trump had threatened on a call with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to send American troops to stop “bad hombres down there” if the Mexican military fails to do so itself. Peña Nieto was expected to visit Washington this week but canceled his trip after Trump challenged him to commit to paying for the border wall or nix their upcoming meeting.

And during a call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump slammed a refugee agreement between both nations as “the worst deal ever,” accused Turnbull of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers” and told the prime minister that their conversation “was the worst call by far” between him and foreign leaders, according to The Washington Post. The call was expected to last an hour, but it reportedly ended abruptly after 25 minutes.

Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, earlier Thursday refused to comment on Trump’s private conversations but suggested the calls have been misrepresented and that people “trying to get these salacious details” aren’t serving the country well. She also said that Trump’s rhetoric is nothing new.

“Look, anybody who just discovered that President Donald J. Trump is a resolute, decisive man who doesn't mince his words and who’s putting America and her allies and her people and her interest first is waking up, I think, out of a cave from the last two years,” she told Fox News. “But at the same time, he has had very respectful conversations with many leaders, just in the last week or so — 10 or more world leaders. He is trying to reach out to them, talk to the diplomatic corps, certainly. But he also makes very clear what his position is on any number of issues around the globe.”

In a post late Wednesday, Trump shared his foreign policy thoughts via Twitter, blaming the Obama administration for the U.S.-Australia deal — an agreement to take in up to 3,000 predominantly-Muslim refugees (Trump incorrectly called them “illegal immigrants”) seeking asylum — and promised to “study this dumb deal!”

In a pair of tweets Thursday morning, he also went after Iran, writing that the country has been “PUT ON NOTICE.”

“Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!” Trump wrote in a series of tweets Thursday. “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion.”

His early morning post follows another Iran-related tweet the president sent late Wednesday night where he ratcheted up the rhetoric against Iran for “rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!”

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine, who lost the presidential election as Hillary Clinton’s running mate, summed up Trump’s behavior toward foreign leaders with one word: foolish.

“If he doesn’t like the deal [with Australia], that’s his right,” Kaine told CNN. “But to have a contentious conversation and name-call a country or the prime minister of a country that’s one of our greatest allies in Asia, is foolish. To suggest to the president of Mexico we may have to send U.S. troops into Mexico is foolish. And some of the statements that the president is making about Iraq and Iran are foolish. He’s doing kind of amateur-hour stuff on matters of significant national importance.”

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) warned “that diplomacy is not something you engage in with a tweet or with one phone call.”

“Diplomacy is long term. There are consequences to what is said by the president of the United States,” she told POLITICO. “And one of the things we don’t want to do is to alienate our allies. And Australia and Mexico have historically been allies of the United States. They’ve been very important to us.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), however, maintained in an interview with CNN that America’s relationship with Australia will endure.

“Australia’s a great ally, they will continue to be and we need to work hard to make sure that our allies, whether it’s Australia or the United Kingdom or other allies around the globe, know that the United States is going to stand strong with them and that we have their backs,” said Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Asked how allies would know that given reports of the call between Trump and Turnbull, Gardner said he doesn’t speak for the White House.

“You’d have to ask the White House, but what I know is that we will continue to strengthen our relationship with Australia as we do with allies around the globe, unlike the past eight years where we saw tremendous weakness in U.S. leadership,” he said.

At the prayer breakfast, Trump reemphasized, “We’re gonna straighten it out.” And he added his signature plea for skeptics: “Believe me.”

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