The White House will launch a major investigation into how awkward details of the blunt phone call between President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull were leaked to the media.
Details of Mr Trump’s conversation with Mr Turnbull, as well as his dialogue with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, have found their way to US media outlets, prompting the need for some embarrassing public clarification and backpedalling.
“The president takes these leaks very seriously,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in an interview with Fox News.
He also said leaking of details from Mexican call, in which Mr Trump reportedly threatened to send US military across the border to stop drug cartels. was concerning.
“That’s troubling and I think the president has asked the team to look into this because those are very serious implications,” Mr Spicer said.
He described the Turnbull-Trump call as “respectful” and “candid”.
The Late Show with Stephen Colbert created an animated version of how the conversation might have played out (watch it below), labelled “Cartoon Donald Trump is learning the hard way just how challenging international relations can be”.
Spicer noted the Australian and Mexican governments had publicly disputed some of the reported details about their calls with Mr Trump.
According to journalists, the leaks in question may be the result of dissent within the White House and broader government staff.
Sources told Politico that while the White House attempted to project an appearance of cohesion and harmony, the state of affairs was quite the opposite.
“People involved in the administration sometimes don’t trust each other because there are several camps that remain warring factions,” said one source.
One long-time Trump adviser told Politico that “trying to nail down who the leakers are is like trying to count the cockroaches under the couch”.