POLITICS
05/11/2020 12:24 PM AEDT

'A Blazing Row': Australian Politicians Reflect On Relationship With Trump As Presidency Hangs In Balance

Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull have had "productive" and "constructive" interactions with Trump, but not without challenges.

As America awaits the final presidential election results, some of Australia’s politicians have spoken about the nature of their relationships with Donald Trump

While Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he has “enjoyed a very productive working relationship with the president”, his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull said he and Trump began with “a blazing row” when he became PM in 2015, describing the president as an example of “big bullying personalities”.

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“To be frank, I had a very constructive relationship with Trump. I mean I got off on what a lot of people said was a bad start because we had a blazing row,” Turnbull said on Channel Nine’s ‘Today’ show on Thursday. 

“But as we all know, when you are dealing with big bullying personalities like Trump, the worst thing you can do is suck up to them.”

Brook Mitchell via Getty Images
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he has “enjoyed a very productive working relationship" with US President Donald Trump
Don Arnold via Getty Images
Former prime minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull said he and Trump began with “a blazing row” when he became PM in 2015, describing the president as an example of “big bullying personalities”

Turnbull told hosts Karl Stefanovic and Allison Langdon he “got some great outcomes” by not letting Trump intimidate him. 

“So standing my ground, you know, not being intimidated, that laid the foundation for a good, constructive relationship,” he said. “And I got some great outcomes.”

Meanwhile during a press conference on Thursday morning, Morrison said he hadn’t yet contacted Trump or Democratic opponent Joe Biden during or after election day, but admitted he’s “enjoyed” his working relationship with the president since becoming prime minister in 2018. 

“I’m not a participant in the US political process. I am a partner,” he said.

“Australia is a partner with the United States, and we respect the decisions that the American people make in their democracy. And we will be patient. We will await the outcome of their process. It’s not for me to run a commentary on those things. I won’t. 

“I work with the president of the United States as the prime minister of Australia. And I’ve enjoyed a very productive working relationship with the president. I will always put Australia’s interests first in that relationship.” 

ASSOCIATED PRESS/Carolyn Kaster
Joe Biden has urged his supporters to keep the faith and to wait until the election was called - pictured here on November 4 in Wilmington, Delaware 
ASSOCIATED PRESS/Evan Vucci
Donald Trump first declared victory in the early hours of Wednesday morning, well before a number of states were called. He preemptively declared a “BIG” win and tweeted, falsely, that Democrats “are trying to STEAL the election" - Trump pictured here on November 4 in Washington

The US is still awaiting a final result and this extended process to project the next president is the result of the changing patterns in voting produced by the coronavirus, with many voting early or by mail. 

Joe Biden urged his supporters to keep the faith and to wait until the election was called, while Trump and his allies are doing what they have hinted at for months: claiming victory prematurely, insisting mail-in ballots for Democrats are invalid, baselessly saying votes were cast after polls were closed and filing lawsuits meant to stop counting votes

Australian senator Penny Wong insisted the “democratic process must be respected, even when it takes time”.

Malcolm Turnbull echoed this with a three-word tweet: “Count every vote”.

Meanwhile Shadow Health Minister Chris Bowen insinuated Australia would issue a statement “demanding that rule of law be respected” if it were in this position. 

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Senator Senator Mehreen Faruqi also weighed in: 

With additional reporting by Kevin Robillard and Paul Blumenthal (HuffPost US)

Read the latest on the election around the US here.

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