POTUS’s ignorance seems bottomless

Whoever leaked those phone transcripts of Donald J. Trump Sr. conversing with two world leaders deserves a medal.

He or she has revealed to the world the utter ignorance of the man who now holds the title Leader of the Free World. That would be, of course, the president of the United States of America.

A Vanity Fair article almost damn near explains itself. It concerns a chat Trump had with the prime minister of Australia; the other leaked transcript is of a phone conversation between Trump and the president of Mexico. I might have something to say about that one later.

Read the article here. If you’re in the correct frame of mind, you’ll be highly amused. Or … you might be as horrified as I am.

The article chronicles a discussion Trump had with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shortly after the president took office. The chat began with Turnbull explaining Australia’s policy banning immigration by anyone by boat to the island nation. The policy aims to stop human trafficking, a risky endeavor no matter what, but particularly so regarding a nation surrounded by water. As Vanity Fair writer Bess Levin notes: “The details of said deal were fairly straightforward: in order to deter human smuggling, as well as to prevent people from drowning at sea, Australia has a policy of not allowing refugees who arrive by boat to enter the country. That means you could be the second coming of Mother Teresa, Mr. Rogers, and Albert Einstein all rolled into one, but if you arrive by boat, you’re not coming into the country.”

The conversation devolved into an argument stemming from the president’s inability to grasp precisely what Turnbull was trying to explain to him, which is that Australia couldn’t keep sending boat people to an island and asked if the United States could take some of them. Trump wouldn’t budge. Turnbull insisted that America had the right to deny anyone it wanted, that it didn’t have to accept every one of them.

The deal in question was struck by then-President Barack Obama. It involved 1,250 refugees. Trump kept misconstruing the number. Turnbull said the number was fixed at 1,250; Trump either didn’t hear it or ignored it willfully.

The conversation went on and on. Turnbull tried his best to explain to Trump as plainly and simply as possible what was at stake. Trump was having none of it.

The conversation is graphic insofar as it demonstrates Trump’s absolute ignorance of foreign policy. But the president “tells it like it is,” dammit!

To the individual who leaked these transcripts to the world, I say “Thank you for your profound public service.”