Friend or foe? A look at President Trump’s early relations with world leaders

President Donald Trump has created some tension between the U.S. and some long-standing allies.
President Donald Trump has created some tension between the U.S. and some long-standing allies. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

U.S. President Donald Trump has made some quick friends since his election; things have been cosy with British Prime Minister Theresa May, he discussed the importance of the Canada-U.S. relationship with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and has agreed to rebuild U.S.-Russia ties with President Vladimir Putin.

READ MORE: What President Donald Trump will mean for Canada

Diplomatic relationships are bound to have their ups and downs, and so far Trump has shown he’s not one to back down.

Along with temporarily banning all refugees and immigrants from seven mostly Muslim countries, Trump’s relations with some global leaders have been off to a rocky start.


A 25-minute phone call between Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull reportedly got heated last weekend on the topic of refugees.

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Trump reportedly blasted Turnbull over an agreement that was in place under president Obama for the U.S. to accept 1,250 refugees from a detainment centre in the South Pacific, The Washington Post reported.

Trump is also said to have accused Turnbull of trying to send the U.S. “the next Boston bombers.”

He then told Turnbull that of the multiple calls he’d had with world leaders that day, it was the “worst call by far.”

Australian government officials told the country’s ABC network that the Post’s story was “substantially accurate.”

Trump took to Twitter and called the deal for the U.S. to accept the refugees “dumb.”

On Thursday White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer rebuked reports of tension among the leaders, calling Trump and Turnbull’s conversation “cordial.”

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In interviews with Germany’s Bild and the Times of London days before inauguration, Trump criticized Germany for its refugee policy amid the migrant crisis and suggested German Chancellor Angela Merkel was to blame for the Brexit result.

He has also taken aim at German car-maker BMW, and voiced concerns there are too many German cars on American roads.

On Tuesday, Trump adviser Peter Navarro told the Financial Times that Germany “continues to exploit other countries in the E.U. as well as the U.S. with an ‘implicit Deutsche Mark’ that is grossly undervalued.”

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Global News political headlines

Merkel promptly fired back that Germany was not manipulating the Euro.

Meanwhile, German transatlantic coordinator Juergen Hardt said on Thursday that officials have had to spend time with their new U.S. counterparts explaining how the European Union works, Reuters reports.

“My impression is that the knowledge about the way the EU works is not very pronounced — at least not in Trump’s inner circle,” Juergen Hardt noted.

Also this week, European Council President Donald Tusk warned E.U. leaders that the new U.S. administration was putting the union into a “difficult situation,” putting “into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.”

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In Trump’s first week in office, he signed an executive order approving a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. In a tweet, Trump said if Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto refuses to pay for the wall, he should cancel his planned trip to Washington.

Shortly after, Pena Nieto did just that.

WATCH: Mexico president cancels U.S. visit after Trump wall comments 

Click to play video: 'Mexico president cancels U.S. visit after Trump wall comments'
Mexico president cancels U.S. visit after Trump wall comments

Following the cancellation, Trump’s spokesman said the White House would seek to pay for the border wall by slapping a 20 per cent tax on all imports from Mexico, as well as on other countries the U.S. has a trade deficit with.

READ MORE: Donald Trump voters love that he’s going to build the wall with Mexico

On Friday, Trump reportedly threatened Pena Nieto in a phone call to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” unless the Mexican military does more to control them, according to an excerpt of a transcript of the conversation obtained by The Associated Press.

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Trump has long accused China of destroying the U.S. economy, and threats of a trade war continue to loom as we wait and see what, if any punitive tariffs will be imposed on China.

The U.S. president has also vowed to name China a currency manipulator.

In early December Trump raised the ire of Chinese officials — and broke protocol — by taking a call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

WATCH: Trump breaks US policy with Taiwan call

Click to play video: 'Trump breaks US policy with Taiwan call'
Trump breaks US policy with Taiwan call

China lodged a formal protest over the call, and also said it would “take revenge” if Trump recognizes Taiwan’s independence.

Trump wrote on Twitter that Tsai had initiated the call: “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!” Trump wrote.

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READ MORE: Donald Trump fires opening shot in risky test of wills with China

Alex Huang, a spokesman for Tsai, said both sides had agreed to the call ahead of time.

In the weeks following Trump’s inauguration, comments made by his adviser Steve Bannon in March 2016 surfaced in which he states the U.S. will be at war with China in the next five to 10 years.

With files from Jesse Ferreras and the Associated Press

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