“Trump badgers leader of Australia.” That’s the headline on the front page of today’s Washington Post. Barack Obama badgered the leader of Israel for eight years. I don’t think the Post ever so informed its readers.
Why not? Because the Post loves Obama and hates Netanyahu and Trump. It’s as simple as that.
But did Trump really badger Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull during their phone conversation yesterday? The Post’s account of the conversation doesn’t depict badgering. According to its story, Turnbull tried to get Trump to commit to keeping a promise Obama made to take 1,250 refugees that the Aussies don’t want.
Trump responded by grousing about the agreement, and not without cause. That doesn’t sound like badgering.
Trump never told Turnbull he wouldn’t abide by Obama’s bad deal, and it appears that the U.S. will be saddled with the refugees. Either way, though, I see no badgering.
I also think we should be skeptical about the Post’s description of the conversation. Where did it get the information about the phone conversation?
I doubt it came from Team Trump. His folks may have been willing to leak word of bad-mouthing Obama’s deal, but the Post story also includes the obligatory reference to Trump supposedly boasting about his electoral accomplishments. It’s unlikely that Trump’s staff provided such information to a “resistance” organ like the Washington Post.
So the Post’s account probably comes from the Aussies, perhaps via someone in the State Department who has it in for Trump. Prime Minister Turnbull gave the Post what looks very much like a non-denial denial, saying: “These conversations are conducted candidly, frankly and privately; if you see reports of them, I’m not going to add to them.”
Someone wanted to make Trump look bad. The new president is fully capable of doing that himself, but I wouldn’t take the word of the Post and its unnamed sources that in this case, he did so in the way the Post describes.