WH to probe leak of Trump’s Australia, Mexico calls
The White House is reportedly investigating how awkward details of President Trump’s recent calls with Australian and Mexican leaders reached the media.
“The president takes these leaks very seriously,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in an interview set to air Saturday on Fox News’ “Watters’ World.”
“That’s troubling and I think the president has asked the team to look into this because those are very serious implications.”
Spicer also said Trump’s conversations with both Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto were “candid” but respectful, reiterating a characterization offered by Vice President Pence.
Spicer noted the Australian and Mexican governments had disputed some of the reported details about their calls with Trump.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Trump told Peña Nieto the U.S. would handle the “bad hombres down there” if Mexican authorities did not first.
The AP’s story cited an excerpt from a Jan. 27 transcript documenting a call between Trump and Peña Nieto’s discussion that day.
Dolia Estevez, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, also reported a similar account citing sources in both nations.
“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,” Trump told Peña Nieto, according to the AP’s account. “You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”
The White House on Thursday called the reported discussion “false,” adding “even the Mexican government is disputing these reports.”
Mexico’s foreign relations department agreed, calling Trump’s conversation with Peña Nieto “constructive” in tone.
Reports emerged Thursday that Trump also had an uncomfortable phone encounter with Turnbull last weekend.
“This was the worst call by far,” Trump allegedly told Turnbull on Jan. 28, according to The Washington Post, which cited senior U.S. officials briefed on the conversation.
Trump was allegedly angered by Turnbull’s request that the U.S. take 1,250 refugees currently being held in Australia per an agreement the two nations made under former President Barack Obama.
The president slammed the “dumb deal” Wednesday on Twitter, but shifted his tone on Friday, calling his conversation with the Australian leader “very civil.”
The White House’s account of the call simply stated that the two men “emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-Australia relationship.”