Australia and its “dumb deal” with the United States – to swap approximately 1250 refugees – has dominated world news over the past 24 hours.
The story rose to prominence on Thursday (AEDT) when details of a terse phone conversation about the deal between US President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull were leaked by The Washington Post.
Mr Trump compunded the spat when he tweeted about the “dumb deal” following that report breaking.
But even though the story meant Mr Turnbull had received unprecedented media coverage the world over, Mr Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer couldn’t get his name right – twice.
You’d think Mr Trump’s press secretary would be 100 per cent across the President’s biggest story of the day. Evidently not. Australia, meet your new PM, Malcolm TRUMBLE, as introduced to the world by Mr Spicer, twice in two minutes:
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) February 2, 2017
Despite the gaffe, Mr Spicer did manage to convey some coherent messages.
He confirmed that the US would still honour the controversial refugee swap struck under the Obama administration.
But Mr Spicer also told reporters Mr Trump was “unbelievably disappointed” about the “horrible deal”.
Meantime cabinet minister Christopher Pyne is insistent the arrangement struck with the Obama administration to take asylum seekers from Nauru and Manus Island still stands, despite Mr Trump labelling it the worst deal ever.
“Malcolm Turnbull stood up to it and the reality is Australia’s interests are being put first,” he told the Nine Network on Friday.
Mr Pyne concedes the deal is not one President Trump would have made if he was in office and he obviously doesn’t like it.
“But a deal is a deal,” he said. He refused to say whether the US president was out of line in the way he handled the phone call or for labelling the deal dumb on Twitter.
“I am not going to be drawn into a fight with the US president,” Mr Pyne said.
Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese said the opposition wants people to be settled but also seeks honesty about Australia’s relationship with America.
“Malcolm Turnbull came out and said it was fixed. Then we’ve have had a shambles whereby we’ve had the US president try to conduct foreign policy and diplomacy through Twitter,” he said.