How the deal went down between Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull
The “blunt” or “frank” exchange of telephonic views between President Trump and Prime Minister Turnbull has become the stuff of legend. From limited transcripts, we can only imagine what went down.
[Phone prep with Kellyanne Conway. Donald Trump is seated in Conway’s second floor office at the White House.]
Conway: Now Donnie, remember that man we talked about yesterday? The one who lives all the way over in the antipodes?
Trump: We don’t need his antipodes. We can make better antipodes right here in the U.S.A. Beautiful antipodes.
Conway: Yes, well be that as it may, it’s time for you to call him now.
Trump: Another foreign leader? I’ve been on the phone with these losers all day long. Can’t I take a nap or watch TV?
Conway: You remember what we agreed: Work time before nap time or TV time. Just one more call today, then you can do whatever you want.
Trump: I’m fresh out of openers. Can’t I just grab him by the–
Conway: Now Donnie, we talked about that. I want you to be very nice to Mr. Turnbull. Turn on the charm. Speak to him in his own language.
Trump: What language does he speak?
Conway: English, after a fashion.
Trump: After a fashion, after a fashion. Even Melania speaks English after a fashion.
Conway: I’m sure you have a lot in common. Just try to get to know him better. Throw in a reference that will make him feel at home.
Trump: What should I say?
Conway: Something homey and Australian to impress him.
Trump: You’re always filling me full of these foreign words like Kristallnacht and borscht to use with foreign leaders. They don’t seem so impressed.
Conway: Well maybe if you used the right words with the right leaders you’d get better results. The Japanese Prime Minister didn’t know much about borscht, and calling him “Honest Abe” didn’t help matters. Nor did Angela Merkel take your reference to “bad hombres.”
Trump: So what million dollar word do you have for me today?
Conway [thinking]: Try didgeridoo. Work it into the conversation somehow. That’ll show him you’re familiar with Australian culture.
Trump [grabbing phone]: Hello? Hello?
Conway: Wait, Mr. President. We need to go downstairs to the Oval Office and call in the boys.
[The Oval Office. Kellyanne Conway shepherds Donald Trump to the chair behind his massive oaken desk and gets him settled. He requests Bosco.
Soon she lets out a sharp whistle, and Michael Flynn and Steve Bannon come trotting in. They arrange themselves haphazardly on the opposite side of the desk and begin staring at the floor, avoiding eye contact.]
Trump: So, how’s my convoy coming?
Bannon: Mr. President, your idea of having the Supreme Court finalists head up a truck convoy driving all the way to D.C. is a stroke of genius. But I’m afraid the nominees just aren’t going for it, Sir.
Trump: Nominees? They’re contestants plain and simple. Don’t they know about ratings? Don’t they care about putting on a show? If they flop, I’m the one who gets schlonged.
Flynn: Yes Sir, but I’m afraid some of them have been spoiled by going to Harvard Law School and, you know, sitting on the bench in black robes and all that formality.
Trump: Convoy! Convoy! Everybody loves a convoy. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger loves a convoy. The black robes are fine, they’re beautiful. But can’t we have trucks too?
Flynn: I’m afraid, Sir, that it’s just too late to arrange it. For the last mile of the drive, I have gotten a motorcycle escort for Judge Gorsuch. The Secret Service would not okay the fog machine.
Conway: We need to get this call done. It’s the last call of the day and the timing is tricky.
Trump: Okay, okay, stop Doug Henning me.
Conway: Perhaps you mean mother henning, Sir.
Trump: Doug Henning. Doesn’t anybody remember Doug Henning? Now he really knew how to put on a show. He once sawed Johnny Carson in half. I think it was his last show.
Bannon: Try and settle down, Mr. President.
Conway [to group]: Well, I’ll leave you now.
Conway [whispering to Trump]: Remember what we talked about!
[Conway exits. Phone rings.]
Trump: Hello? Hello?
Turnbull: This is Malcolm Turnbull speaking.
Trump: My didgeridoo is bigger than yours!
Turnbull: Let’s talk it over, mate. I’ve got an esky in the boot.
Turnbull: Seriously mate, why don’t you pop over, change into your trackie dacks, and we can head over to Macca’s for some wings.
Trump: Translation, I need translation. Huge translation!
Turnbull: I’ve got some lovely prezzies for you, chummy. All arranged with your noble predecessor and ready to ship. Just have a Captain Cook at this snapchat, which I’m sending to you… NOW!
Trump: Pictures. There are pictures on my phone. Pictures of people. Foreign people. Is this legal?
Turnbull: Abso-bloody-lutely! This is Stralia, mate. It’s legal as alligator pear salad.
Trump: Stralia. Now is that a country or a continent?
[Flynn and Bannon shift nervously in their seats.]
Turnbull: It’s both. Look mate, I don’t have time for a geography lesson. I just called to–
Trump: This Stralia, how’s the waterboarding up there?
Turnbull: Not much waterboarding, but plenty of surfboarding. Pop over and I’ll lend you my budgie smugglers. Surf’s up at Lake Burley Griffin. Though you are a bit of a salad dodger.
Trump: I like the surf ‘n’ turf at Bobby Van’s restaurant. Somebody gave me Harry Caray’s Restaurant Cookbook. He’s the leader in surf ‘n’ turf. But I don’t have time to cook. I said to Kellyanne (isn’t she beautiful?), why can’t we create a cabinet position for executive surf ‘n’ turf? It would be cheaper than ordering out. If we eliminate two positions at the State Department, we can have a surf ‘n’ turf guy and still come out ahead of the game. But the bureaucracy! You wouldn’t believe all the red tape that goes into fish.
Turnbull [puzzled]: What kind of fish?
Trump: ANY fish! It could be lobster, red snapper, even a nice piece of halibut comes with so much red tape. Red tape like you wouldn’t believe. The reason I got a huge majority of votes is because people are sick of red tape. Everywhere I go, they ask me: “Can’t we just enjoy surf ‘n’ turf without all the red tape?” That’s where I got the idea. From the restaurants. They have their twofer nights, so I said to Congress: “For every regulation you create, you have to eliminate two more.” I’ve declared war on red tape. We’re bombing the hell out of red tape!
Turnbull: Good on ya, mate. Now if we could just have a decent convo on the subject of–
Trump: I love Austria. I love the people and the rivers. You and I may be different races, but we’re both rooting for the same values. All Americans are rooting for these values. I want us to be friends. I want you to root with me and for me, just like the American people are doing. I’m a huge fan of Austria, and I’ll be rooting for you too. We’ll be rooting together. It’ll be a better way of life. Cry me a river and I’ll cry a river over you. Not actual crying and not an actual river. But good trade. FAIR trade. RECIPROCAL TRADE!!!
Turnbull: That’d be beaut. Do you yanks have any potato scallops? If you do, send ’em on down, because our take-away shops are really hurting from the shortage.
Trump [to Bannon]: Steve, do we have any potato scallops? Check the fridge.
Bannon: We have a few, but not enough to supply Australia. I suggest you leave this issue to the trade delegates.
Trump: Delegates shmelegates! I’m trying to do a deal here. I’ve got the man on the phone and he wants potato scallops. Can’t we find some?
Flynn: We’ll make it a priority, Mr. President. I think there may be some military surplus scallops…
Trump: Okay, but remove all military markings and change the last date of sale to two years from now.
Trump [returning to phone call]: You want scallops? I’ll get you scallops. I’ll get you anything you want. Because you’re a friend. A good friend.
Turnbull: Looking forward to it. Now about this refugee thing negotiated by your worthy predecessor. Are we on, or is it a daggy deal?
Trump: Did someone say the R Word? I hope no one said the R Word. Because that would be very sad if someone said the R Word. I spoke to four world leaders, terrific world leaders today, and none of them said the R Word.
Turnbull: Mr. President, I only said, uh, that word, because there’s business between our two nations which demands it.
Trump: There’s no business like show business, and no business that demands the R Word. No one says the R Word. I was elected by billions and billions of people. Even Carl Sagan voted for me. He’s just one of the dead people who voted for me, even though Hillary tried to get them all to vote for her. So if I say we don’t use the R Word, we don’t use the R Word.
Turnbull: Mr. President, I won’t use the R Word again, I promise. But your worthy predecessor–
Trump: I hope you’re not about to use the O Word. Because I like the O Word even less than I like the R Word.
Turnbull: No Sir, well let’s just say that there was a Mr. Embalmer who had certain dealings with our nation of–
Turnbull [flustered]: Yes, as you say, this Mr. Embalmer had certain dealings with Austria which were left undone. And I, as the, er, Prime Minister of Austria–
Trump: I’m hanging up now. Don’t try sending me any illegal immigrants, either. I wouldn’t mind a kangaroo to play with. It’s lonely in the White House. Melania left me.
Turnbull: Sorry ’bout the missus, mate. I’ll send you a kelpie. Kangas are off limits.
Trump: On behalf of the American people I may accept one kelpie, but only with extreme vetting. I won’t have thousands of djangos eating our fine Boston babies.
Turnbull: No worries, mate. Call me in the arvo. I’ve got to ring off now. I’m giving the Aussie salute to a herd of bush flies.
Trump: I will be checking that kelpie VERY CAREFULLY!
Turnbull: Whatever, mate. Auf wiedersehen!
Trump: Do svidaniya!
Trump [hangs up phone and begins barking orders]: Turn on Fox! Throw another reporter on the barbie! Bring me my Katy Tur doll! And a fresh supply of pins!
Bannon: Get Kellyanne. See what he needs. Tell Sean to issue a statement. Something like “The two leaders emphasized the enduring strength and closeness of the U.S.-Australia relationship that is critical for peace, stability, and blah-blah-blah.”
Trump: Convoy! Convoy!
Flynn: No convoy today, Mr. President. Motorcycle. Mo-tor-cy-cle.
Trump: American motorcycle?
Bannon: It’s a Harley Hog, Mr. President. Made in America by Americuhns. It’s got thrush pipes, hooker headers, ape hangers, and is a pig on roller skates. You can’t get any more American than that.
Trump [smiling vapidly]: Let’s make America great again.
[Just then Kellyanne Conway bursts in, all panicky.]
Conway: Mr. President, I’m afraid I have bad news. No motorcycle. On short notice, all we could get was a Holden Ute.
* * *
What constitutes torture? Before being so glib about waterboarding, I suggest Donald Trump watch the following video 857 times, then see how he feels about torture:
I’m Not Jealous Dept.
Crash Course in Aussie Slang
esky – ice cooler
boot – trunk (of a vehicle)
trackie dacks – track pants
Macca’s – McDonald’s
prezzies – presents
Captain Cook – look
alligator pear – avocado
budgie smugglers – tight fitting swimwear
salad dodger – overweight person
convo – conversation
daggy – not trendy or cool
kelpie – Australian sheep dog
kanga – kangaroo
arvo – afternoon
Aussie salute – swatting flies
django – not Aussie slang, but may refer to a European jazz musician. So when Trump evokes the “dingo ate my baby” meme, he seems to fear that Boston babies will be devoured by the Hot Club De France. And what better reason to issue a travel ban?
Soul mates in fly-swatting
President Obama was legendary for his fly-swatting prowess. Prime Minister Turnbull may not have actually nailed one, but gives the “Aussie salute” numerous times while being grilled by the press over his tête-à-tête with Donald Trump. Someone should post a YouTube from account “Flyswatting News.” It should intercut footage of Barack Obama and Malcolm Turnbull swatting flies, punctuated by the guy from the newsstand in A Few Good Men saying “No flies on you.” The one vid I won’t bother to create, and it would probably get a million hits. Sad! 😉
More fallout from the Aussie potato scallop famine
“Llama Farma” writes:
This is an outrage! Yesterday, I was forced to endure 3 dim sims of spurious composition and a chicko roll with no confirmed chicken content, all on account of the potato scallop shortage. This isn’t pre-1900’s Ireland, people, this is modern day Australia and it’s not good enough. I demand a Royal Commission!
Disclaimer: This work of parody sometimes goes for laughs on serious subjects. Concerning questions about the treatment of some refugees by the Australian government, see this article in Britain’s Independent.
The views expressed are my own, and do not represent any other person or organization.