‘Trumbull’ faux pas casts gloom over Aus-US relations
Down under, just about every well-adjusted adult likes to think of themselves as a self-deprecating larrikin, with a happy-go-lucky spring in their step that’s as difficult to dampen as a Waratah in January.
That being said, it’s likely that several Australian egos took a beating after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s butchering of our Prime Minister’s name.
Following what can only be described as Australia’s disastrous first attempt at discourse with Donald Trump, which the president himself called “the worst” of his phone calls with world leaders that day, Spicer took to the press, apparently for reconciliation.
The short address encompassed a number of platitudes and multiple references to a certain “Mr Trumbull”.
Whilst it is possible that Spicer was referring to a not yet created character from the popular ‘Mr Men’ series, it is more likely, given the context, that he was referring to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
During their phone call on Saturday, Turnbull briefed Trump on the refugee deal he had established with Barack Obama following last November’s election.
The deal involved the resettling of 1250 refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia and Vietnam within US borders after Turnbull agreed to help resettle refugees fleeing violence in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – currently being processed in Costa Rica.
Despite special minister of state Scott Ryan stating, at the time, “There will not be a people swap,” the nature of the agreement suggested otherwise.
Whilst Trump has said he will “study this dumb deal,” it is unlikely that he will approach it with the same enthusiasm as Obama, given the new president’s widely publicised desire to limit the number of immigrants entering the US.
This specific deal aside, it’s unlikely that Australian affairs will be headlining Trump’s weekly agenda in the near future.
A clear “America first” theme has threaded its way through both Trump’s campaign and the early days of his presidency.
Despite the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, attempting to salvage Australia’s pride by saying “Australia is a very central ally, they are and will continue to be,” Mr Turnbull, or Trumbull – they seem to be interchangeable, shouldn’t bother putting Donald on speed dial just yet.
Less communication with the US should give Aussie politicians more time to do the things they really love doing, like wrestling dangerous animals and smiling for no apparent reason.
You know, cause we’re such larrikins.