US President Donald Trump has once again made headlines for being terrible on the phone. Earlier this week Trump was caught on tape putting the pressure on Georgia’s secretary of state to find the necessary votes to deliver him the state he lost (twice) in the US election.
This is the latest in a long line of phone calls that prove one undeniable truth: Trump is terrible on the phone. Thankfully, I have little in common with Trump, but I can actually relate to this problem.
Ever since my mum bought me a NOKIA 3310 in year 7 to use ‘for emergencies’ I’ve been disappointing people with my terrible phone manner. I hate talking for too long, I’m bad at replying and generally don’t enjoy being on the phone.
With just under two weeks until the 45th US President hangs up for the final time, we’ve decided to celebrate the best (and by best we mean worst) examples of Trump being terrible on the phone.
Trump vs Turnbull
Always good to start close to home and one of Trump’s first worst calls was with then-Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull shortly after being elected. Despite having much in common (independently wealthy politicians), Trump and Turnbull failed to connect on the call with Trump labelling it “the worst call by far.”
Rumours swirled that Trump hung up on Turnbull, ice-cold, but Malcolm refused to confirm or deny, simply telling NBC, “Australians know me very well. I always stand up for Australia in every forum.”
Trump vs Macron
In 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron’s turn to cop a Trump tirade when the two jumped on the line to discuss trade and immigration. According to CNN, the phone call disintegrated when Macron refused to concede to Trump’s demands and instead gave the US President a piece of his mind.
“I’m always extremely direct and frank. He is. Sometimes I manage to convince him, and sometimes I fail,” Macron told CNN at the time.
Melania hates Christmas
Never to be outdone by her husband, turns out Melania is also terrible on the phone. Melania was secretly recorded in 2018 by Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and senior adviser and the tapes paint a portrait of an incredibly frustrated First Lady.
Melania channels a seriously pissed off high schooler in the tapes, and she vents to her best friend about an array of subjects. In the forty-five-minute phone call, the First Lady reels off a list of grievances including being relegated to the sidelines, being attacked for Trump’s harsh border policies and, most tellingly, her fury at being responsible for decorating the White House at Christmas time.
“Who gives a f*** about Christmas stuff and decorations?” asks Melania at one point.
We do, Melania, we do.
Pain in Ukraine
Arguably the most infamous of Trump’s terrible phone calls came in July of 2019 when Trump casually used the President’s office to ask a fellow head of state to investigate a political rival.
While on a call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, Donald Trump suggested that Zelensky looks into the activities of Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who had previously served on the board of a Ukraine natural gas company.
“There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, what Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that, so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great,” Trump said to Zelensky in the call.
Following the conversation, Trump then withheld financial aid to Ukraine, which led to the Senate’s failed impeachment trial.
Almost undermining your own presidency in one phone call, that’s borderline impressive.
Georgia on my mind
Last but not least comes Trump’s most recent phone fail. While trying to salvage the US election, Trump was caught on tape pressuring Georgia’s top election official Brad Raffensperger to reverse the result.
Breaking News: President Trump pressured Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes to overturn the election, according to audio clips from a phone call. https://t.co/has9gXEtTR
— The New York Times (@nytimes) January 3, 2021
“I just want to find 11,780 votes,” said Trump. Before adding, “So what are we going to do here, folks? I only need 11,000 votes. Fellas, I need 11,000 votes. Give me a break.”
The number would have given him a total of 2,473,634 votes in the state, one more than Democratic President-elect Joe Biden, who received 2,473,633 votes.
Released by The Washington Post, the tapes also showed Trump accusing the state of allowing dead people to vote, and using faulty Dominion machines. Shortly after the recordings were made public Trump took to Twitter to attack Raffensperger.
I spoke to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger yesterday about Fulton County and voter fraud in Georgia. He was unwilling, or unable, to answer questions such as the “ballots under table” scam, ballot destruction, out of state “voters”, dead voters, and more. He has no clue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2021
Raffensperger responded with his own tweet: “Respectfully, President Trump: What you’re saying is not true.”
One thing that is true for sure: Trump is terrible on the phone.