Donald Trump’s decision to remain in Washington longer than planned saw him shift the meeting with Malcolm Turnbull from a Manhattan hotel in favour of a shorter, 30-minute meeting on board the USS Intrepid on the Hudson River.
Trump: “Oh, it’s a very big day. I appreciate you waiting.”
Turnbull: “Well, I know the feeling, we have challenges with our parliament too. We have only 29 seats in a Senate of 76 so you need a lot of work to get legislation passed.”
Trump: “That means you’re doing a good job.”
Turnbull: “When you get it passed, you are!”
Donald Trump labelled the reports of a terse phone call with Malcolm Turnbull over the refugee deal as a little bit of fake news.
Trump: “We had a good telephone call.”
Turnbull: “We had a great call!”
Trump: “You guys exaggerated that call. That was a big exaggeration. I want to tell you, we had a great call. I mean, we’re not babies. But we had a great call.”
The February phone call saw Mr Trump tweet that the refugee deal was dumb but the United States eventually decided to honour the refugee agreement forged by the Obama administration.
The two leaders talked trade, national security and immigration during their truncated meeting in New York ahead of a gala dinner commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.
The four-day battle between the Allies and Japan was fought off Australia’s northeastern coast between the 4th and the 8th of May in 1942 and was the first air-and-sea battle in history.
The Allies managed a strategic victory which put an end to the Japanese seaborne invasion of Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
It was the first time the Japanese had failed in a major wartime operation.
During the dinner, Malcolm Turnbull paid tribute to those who served.
“We thank all those Australians and Americans who served and remember the more than 600 who died in the Battle of the Coral Sea. And to all those who serve in the United States and Australian Defence Forces we honour you, we thank you. You and your families, with your courage and your service, you keep us free.”
Donald Trump offered similar sentiments.
“They saw enemy planes flying toward them by the dozen. They saw the flames erupt in to the air and they saw the true cost of war in the faces of the heroes that never returned. On this special gathering, on this special night, we remember the courage of these men and every man, Australian and American who fought in the Battle of the Coral Sea.”