In a statement released Thursday, Senator John McCain said he called Australia’s ambassador to the United States in the wake of an angry phone call that took place between Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
McCain said he spoke with Joe Hockey, the Australian ambassador, to “express my unwavering support for the U.S.-Australia alliance.”
McCain’s statement said:
I called Australia’s Ambassador to the United States this morning to express my unwavering support for the U.S.-Australia alliance. I asked Ambassador Hockey to convey to the people of Australia that their American brothers and sisters value our historic alliance, honor the sacrifice of the Australians who have served and are serving by our side, and remain committed to the safer, freer, and better world that Australia does far more than its fair share to protect and promote.
The statement doesn’t mention Trump by name, but it does include this line:
Those of us who took part in the conflict remember well the service of more than 50,000 Australians in the Vietnam War, including more than 500 that gave their lives.
You may remember that Trump was able to avoid serving in Vietnam because he allegedly had bone spurs in his heels. He also later described the effort of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases as his own “personal Vietnam.”
On Wednesday night, The Washington Post reported that Trump angrily and abruptly hung up on Turnbull after Trump slammed a refugee agreement between the two nations as “the worst deal ever.”
Trump also reportedly told Turnbull that their conversation was “the worst call by far” that he had that day with world leaders.
Trump responded to the controversy in a tweet Wednesday night shortly after the Post story was published. “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia,” Trump wrote, erroneously referring to the refugees. “Why? I will study this dumb deal!”
Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017