WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump made several questionable assertions in phone calls with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, according to transcripts of the calls obtained by The Washington Post and published Thursday.
Here are some of his most egregious claims and remarks made during the conversations, which occurred when he first took office in January.
Trump claimed he won New Hampshire in the 2016 election because the state is ‘a drug-infested den.’
In referencing drugs and the opioid epidemic, Trump falsely claimed to Peña Nieto that he won the Granite State.
“We have the drug lords in Mexico that are knocking the hell out of our country. They are sending drugs to Chicago, Los Angeles, and to New York, up in New Hampshire – I won New Hampshire because New Hampshire is a drug-infested den – is coming from the southern border,” Trump said.
“We have a massive drug problem where kids are becoming addicted to drugs because drugs are being sold for less money than candy because there is so much of it,” he continued. “So we have to work together to knock that out.”
In reality, Trump narrowly lost New Hampshire to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The state’s two Democratic senators, Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen, on Thursday criticized Trump’s description of their state and the way in which he appeared to refer callously to the opioid crisis.
Trump instructed Peña Nieto to stop publicly refusing to pay for his signature campaign promise, the border wall.
Trump portrayed the issue as important for his political prospects, saying not having Mexico pay left him in a “political bind.” Yet he claimed that “this is the least important thing we are talking about.”
The president told his Mexican counterpart that “you cannot say that to the press” that Mexico would refuse to pay, a position that Peña Nieto has reiterated.
“So what I would like to recommend is – if we are going to have continued dialogue – we will work out the wall,” Trump said. “They are going to say, ‘Who is going to pay for the wall, Mr. President?’ to both of us. And we should both say, ‘We will work it out.’ It will work out in the formula somehow. As opposed to you saying, ‘We will not pay’ and me saying, ‘we will not pay.’
“If you are going to say that Mexico is not going to pay for the wall, then I do not want to meet with you guys anymore because I cannot live with that,” Trump added later.
He expressed authoritarian desires.
Trump hoped Peña Nieto could run again even though he is term-limited.
“I want you to be so popular that your people will call for a constitutional amendment in Mexico so that you can run again for another six years,” he said.
Trump also bragged that their relationship would ensure that they “will almost become the fathers of our country ― almost, not quite, OK?”
He complained to Turnbull that accepting refugees ‘makes me look bad.’
Trump told Turnbull that it would be “bad” for him to honor a previous agreement for the U.S. to accept Syrian refugees, calling himself “the world’s greatest person that does not want to let people into the country.”
“Boy, that will make us look awfully bad,” Trump said after he announced his ban on travel and immigration from seven-majority Muslim countries which also halted refugee resettlement.
He said that refugees “are not going to be wonderful people who go on to work for the local milk people.”
“Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground.”
After Turnbull implored him to honor the agreement, Trump again expressed exasperation.
“OK, this shows me to be a dope,” he said. “If I have to do it, I will do it, but I do not like this at all.”
He said the Boston Marathon bombers ‘were from wherever they were.’
“Can Australia give me a guarantee that if we have any problems – you know that is what they said about the Boston bombers. They said they were wonderful young men,” Trump said to Turnbull.
“They were Russians. They were not from any of these countries,” Turnbull responded, referring to Trump’s travel ban.
Trump said, “They were from wherever they were.”