Don’t get the idea I’m bitter about this, or bursting with righteous indignation. More inclined to see it as good for a laugh, although you might have to take that on faith since outsiders seem to think the Australian sense of humour is weird.
Anyway, here’s what I’m talking about.
The first phone call between newly-elected President Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ended abruptly with Pres T hanging up in PM T’s ear. Yeah well…
In two separate briefings regarding this little spat, White House spokesman Sean Spicer referred to Mr Turnbull as ‘Mr Trumble’. Aah…
Last week, Mr Turnbull travelled to the US for a face-to-face meeting with President Trump. The meeting was scheduled for 4pm to last for an hour, but seems the President was too busy to keep the appointment and it was moved to 7.15pm, giving them a quick 30 minutes to gallop through top level discussions on Korea, China, trade agreements, allied military presence in the Middle East… before attending a ceremony aboard the decommissioned USS Intrepid to mark the anniversary of the WWll Battle of the Coral Sea.
So far so good(ish). The President thanked Rupert Murdoch (who introduced him to the stage), Greg Norman (with whom he played golf once) and Anthony Pratt, who has just pledged $2 billion for American manufacturing jobs – presumably the only Australians Trump considers worth mentioning (or perhaps knows). All of whom are now effectively American. (Lots of eye-rolling from Australians.)
He also addressed ‘the phone call’, though perhaps not as eloquently as one might have hoped for from the world’s No. 1:
They said we had a rough phone call, we really didn’t have a rough call, did we?
Everyone’s talking about this phone call. The media was saying ‘what do you think about the phone call? You didn’t really hang up?’
No, we had actually a very nice call, right? Good. Now the record is straight all those people back there. Thank goodness, it’s true we had a very nice phone call.
Got a little testy, got a little bit testy but that’s OK. We’ve had a very good relationship and I’m very proud of the relationship.
And following this all-round jolly affair, Reuters referred to Malcolm Turnbull as Brian Trumbull.
Now as I say, this whole rolling fiasco is good for a laugh, over here. Why waste emotional energy being bitter about such a ridiculous sequence of events?
Australia is not as big as America. Not as powerful. Not as important. Malcolm Turnbull is not as important as Donald Trump and should be grateful for crumbs from the President’s table, right?
Mr Turnbull might be a mere candle in the global firmament in Donald Trump’s opinion, but he is still a head of state, and international diplomacy as well as common courtesy require that he be treated with the respect due to his office. For a start, the President’s spokesman might get his name right.
Australia is also the only nation since Trump’s election to express loyalty to the US, and it might be worth the President’s while to realise that whatever Mr Turnbull says, Australians themselves are increasingly dubious about any such loyalty given the wars it’s led us into and the President’s cavalier attitude – and in Australia, everyone votes and he/she with the most votes wins.
We might get bored with this joke and stop laughing.