I have gone back to read what I wrote about the Down Under episode and to my surprise, I hadn't. The cases I used to illustrate the harsh criticism is NSC and the gut call made on the Yemen strike. (I could be wrong and forgot where I wrote it. Will amend if I was wrong then, too)
* * *
Now, let's see this through the lenses of the diplomatic world:
1. You have the Australian PM calling a local, station saying everything was smooth. Reporter could understandably feel perplexed due to anonymous stories reporting the opposite. But here was the primary source, so who would you believe?
2. You have reports from the Senators' office going of Ben Cardin said he would go to Mexico soon to "repair" damages, of John McCain issuing public statement expressing affirmation on the US-Oz relationship, and of Cardin and Bob Corker going to Germany and Jordan officials. These are 3 official, primary sources too. And of 2 them sit on the Sen. Com. of Foreign Affairs. --- same group doing State Dept. oversight. McCain is Armed Service, which is DoD oversight. So it would be amazing to see 3 different offices declaring clean up work for the White House. (source
3. So this is my theory and I have nothing as proof right now. I will return to this if I read/hear anything more: Oz Turnbull did Trump a favor by going on the record and smooth things out. How the call ended is a small footnote. Trump could be slamming down the phone, or he did not. But the NYT got a different angle than the Post and teased out some details as about the call:
The Trump administration official said the call was shorter than planned
, and ended abruptly
after Mr. Turnbull told the president it was necessary for the refugees to be accepted. The details of the call were confirmed by a senior administration official with direct knowledge of the exchange
who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly discuss the diplomatic talks. (Emphasis mine; source
So how important is the slammed phone? Not important to the degree that it could be a crisis. It could be a bargaining chip, though. To get Turnbull not to add more one complaint about Trump's handling of international diplomacy, to get McCain to issue affirmation of the alliance without Turnbull doing a direct contradiction, what did he get in return? Diplomacy is about give and take. In this case, 3 primary sources, 2 reports with different angles, are signalling to us that Trump is an amateur at leader-to-leader interaction. It also shows a big weakness which other foreign leaders would be a fool not to exploit.