McCain Calls Australian Ambassador Amid Trump Tensions With Turnbull

On Wednesday, US presidential spokesman Sean Spicer also said Mr Trump meant to uphold the deal.

But Mr Trump tweeted: "Do you believe it?"

Trump is not happy with the refugee deal he was left with after the Obama administration left office.

US President Donald Trump has praised Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for "telling the truth" about their phone conversation on the Australia-US refugee deal.

Trump expressed concern as to how this agreement from Obama's administration would go forward given his executive order the day before temporarily suspending the United States refugee program.

Later, Trump characterized the conversation as "the worst" with a foreign leader so far into his presidency.

Mr Trump is said to have told Mr Turnbull he was "going to get killed" politically over the deal, and accused him of trying to export "the next Boston bombers".

A report published today by The Washington Post also suggests Mr Trump cut short his call with Mr Turnbull by 35 minutes even as the Australian PM tried to talk about other pressing issues.

Under Obama, the United States agreed to accept half of them, and the United States embassy in Canberra has told reporters the Trump administration will honour the commitment, despite the Trump-Turnbull call that has predictably upset Australians.

Despite the hostility of the call, Turnbull went public with his claim that Trump had promised to honour the deal.

Mr McCain, a senior Republican senator in the United States and a Vietnam War hero, has reportedly tried to patch up the relationship between the two nations following the controversial phone call.

Chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior adviser Steve Bannon expressed the president's admiration for the Australian people during the meeting with envoy Joe Hockey, according to a White House official.

"I think it is important presidents and prime ministers have candid and private conversations with one another", he added.

"They conveyed the president's deep admiration for the Australian people", a White House spokesman said.

However, Trump's angry tweet about "studying" the deal has left Australia in a fresh conundrum.

On Thursday Turnbull said he was "not going to comment on the conversation".

The State Department also said the USA would honour the agreement "out of respect for close ties to our Australian ally and friend".

  • Kyle Peterson