U.S. will honor ‘dumb’ Australian refugee deal
Donald Trump has been gently steering the United States towards a war with North Korea lately, so you may have forgotten all the ridiculous things he did early on in his presidency like pissing off Australia. Way back in February of 2017, which feels like it was 30 years ago at this point, Donald Trump screwed up the simple act of calling Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
A supposedly cranky Donald Trump did not care for the fact that the United States had previously agreed to take in 1,250 refugees being held in horrible conditions in Australia. During what should have been a routine phone call, Trump ended up complaining about the arrangement, calling it “the worst deal ever,” and ending the phone call early. Afterwards, it wasn’t clear if the U.S. would honor the deal — which Trump later tweeted was “dumb” — but on Saturday, Pence assured Australia that America would indeed accept the refugees.
“Let me make it clear, the United States intends to honor the agreement,” Pence said at a press conference in Sydney. Then things got awkward.
“President Trump has made it clear that we will honor the agreement,” Pence continued. “Doesn’t mean we admire the agreement.”
Pence appears visibly angry that any of this is happening, and says that they’re only going through with the deal “out of respect to this enormously important alliance.” He looks and sounds like a kid being forced to apologize for pulling his sister’s pigtails even though she started it.
It’s worth noting this was a joint press conference and Turnbull was standing right next to Pence the entire time. Perhaps Pence thought it was important that the Australian people “see our resolve on his face” as well. He seems to think glaring is an effective foreign policy strategy on both allies and enemies alike.
[Reuters | Photo: Getty]