White House press secretary Sean Spicer answered questions on Friday morning about the controversial refugee deal that was made between the Australian government and the Obama administration.
The deal, which would see around 1,200 refugees from Australia's offshore detention camps in Manus and Nauru resettled in the US, was made late last year and was one of the Obama administration's final agreements with Australia.
On Thursday The Washington Post reported on a phone call between Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and US President Donald Trump in which the two leaders discussed the deal. The conversation reportedly went sour when Trump grew enraged, calling it the "worst deal ever" before hanging up on Turnbull.
Later on Thursday afternoon, Turnbull went on Australian radio to dismiss claims the president of the United States had hung up on him. He did not, however, reject the claim that Trump had called the refugee deal "the worst deal ever".
Answering questions about the deal on Friday morning, Sean Spicer twice called Turnbull "prime minister Trumble".
"The president had a very cordial conversation with prime minster Trumble [sic]," he said. "The president is unbelievably disappointed in the previous administration's deal that was made and how poorly it was crafted."
"He has tremendous respect for the prime minister and the Australian people."
Spicer stressed that before any of the refugees would be resettled in the United States they would be subject to "very, very extreme vetting processes," and that Trump "did not like" the deal at all.
"[Trump] has ensured that, while he has respect for the Australian people and prime minister Trumble [sic], that we do not pose a threat to the United States of America."
"[Trump] does not like it, but out of respect for [Turnbull] he will allow that process... under the conditions that had been set that there will be extreme vetting on every single one of those individuals."
Twitter, having already had a field day yesterday when reports of the Trump vs. Turnbull phone call went viral, was quick to react.
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Brad Esposito at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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