- The Washington Times - Friday, February 3, 2017

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, who spoke recently with the Australian ambassador to the U.S., said Friday he’s not sure how many more of those calls he’ll have to make to apologize to an ally for something from the White House.

“I thought it was extraordinarily unfortunate, apparently, that the conversation between Prime Minister [Malcolm] Turnbull of Australia and the president was such that clearly it was offensive to Turnbull, although as you saw he handled himself very, very well and very diplomatically,” Mr. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Mr. Hoyer, the House minority whip, said he wanted to tell Ambassador Joe Hockey that Australia has a lot of friends on Capitol Hill.

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, and Sen. Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, also had similar conversations with Mr. Hockey in recent days after a reportedly heated conversation between President Trump and Mr. Turnbull.

“I think experience would tell us over the last 10 days and, frankly, the last 15 months — who knows?” Mr. Hoyer said when asked how many more of the United States’ allies he’ll have to call to apologize for something from the White House.

“Who knows what President Trump is going to do at any given moment and give offense to people that we need to have confidence in us and we need to have confidence in our relationship with” them, he said.

Mr. Hoyer said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made clear in a speech at the State Department that he understands the United States is “in this together” with its allies.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence that President Trump is going to learn that lesson,” Mr. Hoyer said. “Nothing in the last 15 months has given us any confidence that he will.”

For his part, Mr. Trump tried to downplay the incident on Friday.

“Thank you to Prime Minister of Australia for telling the truth about our very civil conversation that FAKE NEWS media lied about. Very nice!” the president tweeted.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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