Conservatives often say that Donald Trump carries out his diplomacy with a blunt style. The Trump phone calls leaked to the press tell a different story, and it is a story that we should all hear.

When Trump recently discussed the border wall with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, the conversation devolved into a stalemate over who would pay for it. After Nieto insisted that Mexico would not pay for the wall, Trump said, “You cannot say that to the press.” Trump is more interested in looking tough for his base than in the economics of the wall.

Trump also had a contentious call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over an Obama administration agreement to accept 1,250 refugees held by Australia. Trump tried to renege on the deal. “Boy, that will make us look awfully bad,” Trump said. Again, Trump’s main goal was to look tough for his base.

Some people are not so amused by the phone call leaks. David Frum (a senior editor at the Atlantic and a White House speechwriter under George W. Bush) calls them a “dangerous” national security risk.

In this case, Frum is off base. Trump’s diplomatic style is so outrageously unique that those world leaders called by Trump must compare notes with each other on a regular basis. Trump’s actual phone calls are more of a national security risk than the leaks could ever pose.

Peter Konieczko


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