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   Dec 12

‘He’s no Robinson Crusoe’: Kevin Rudd says Malcolm Turnbull not the first PM to stand up to the US

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says Malcolm Turnbull is “no Robinson Crusoe” when it comes to dealing with America. Photo: ABC NewsKevin Rudd says Malcolm Turnbull is not the first n leader to stand up to a hostile US president, with the former prime minister pointing to his own conversations with George W. Bush over the Iraq War.
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But Mr Rudd strongly defended ‘s position and called on current US President Donald Trump to restore “civility” in his dealings with one of America’s “closest allies in the world.”

Mr Rudd conceded that the tense phone call between Mr Turnbull and Mr Trump in which the n Prime Minister convinced the US President honour former president Barack Obama’s deal to accept refugees from Nauru and Manus Island betrayed a “tough old time” for the Member for Wentworth.

But he pointed to his own conversations with former Republican president George W. Bush over the Iraq war, saying Mr Turnbull’s experience in dealing with a hostile US counterpart was nothing new.

“To be fair to Malcolm Turnbull, it was a tough old time but the bottom line is he’s not Robinson Crusoe either,” Mr Rudd told the ABC.

“Let me tell you there was some pretty harsh words said there too,” he said, referring to his conversations with Mr Bush.

“Remember I was dealing with George Bush at a time when I was about to say, ‘George, terrific, we’re about to pull n troops out of Iraq and I think your war stinks.'”

But Mr Rudd said the onus was on Mr Trump to restore civility in his dealings with .

“I think civility needs to return to the public discussion,” he said. “I would hope and frankly ask that President Trump restores civility in his communications with a country which, after all, is one of America’s two closest allies in the world.”

It is assumed Mr Rudd was referring to the UK as the other key US ally.

The deal negotiated between the Turnbull government and former Obama administration for hundreds of asylum seekers who had travelled to by boat appeared at risk when Mr Trump tweeted that he would “study” the “dumb deal.”

His comments came as The Washington Post reported that Mr Trump hung up on Mr Turnbull, describing his conversation with the n as “the worst by far” in his series of calls with world leaders.

But Mr Turnbull disputed this account, saying the call ended courteously.

Mr Trump later tweeted his thanks to Mr Turnbull, along with his praise of ns, following a backlash from prominent US lawmakers who rushed to re-declare their support for the US-n alliance.

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