The White House is investigating how the details of President Donald Trump’s recent tense phone conversations with Australia and Mexico were leaked, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said.
‘The president takes these leaks very seriously,’ Spicer said in an interview with Fox News Channel, which on Friday provided a transcript of a segment set to air on Saturday.
Trump cut short a phone call with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull after an acrimonious discussion about a refugee swap deal, a conversation that threatened ties between the two allies after details appeared in The Washington Post.
The president spoke with five world leaders over the phone last week, but said his conversation with Turnbull was ‘the worst call by far’ that day.
Sources said Trump was reportedly ‘boasting’ about his pleasant call with Putin when he told Turnbull the refugee agreement he struck with the Obama administration was the ‘worst deal ever’.
In an earlier call with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto about paying for a wall on the southern U.S. border, Trump said he might send the US military to Mexico to stop drug cartels.
A transcript was obtained by a Mexican news organization Aristegui Noticias and the Associated Press.
Trump reportedly told Pena-Nieto to stop sending ‘bad hombres,’ a phrase he has used before to reference Mexicans.
‘You have a bunch of bad hombres down there,’ Trump told Pena Nieto, according to the excerpt seen by the AP. ‘You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared.
Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.’
The White House later said the comments were meant to be lighthearted.
‘That’s troubling and I think the president has asked the team to look into this because those are very serious implications,’ Spicer said.
Spicer described the conversations as ‘candid’ but respectful, and has noted that both the Australian and Mexican governments have disputed some of the details.
White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on the investigation into the leaks.
Trump told politicians and faith leaders at the National Prayer Breakfast that he was having difficult conversations with world leaders as he worked to overhaul immigration rules.
‘Believe me, when you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having – don’t worry about it. Just don’t worry about it,’ Trump told the leaders.