John Howard: Some things Donald Trump has done on the international stage have been 'unsettling'0:32
AUSTRALIA can trust Donald Trump even though his style of presidency is unusual, former prime minister John Howard insists.
The controversial US President has come under scrutiny since he was elected in 2016, but Mr Howard says we shouldn’t be so quick to judge.
“The style of President Trump is unusual ... I accept that some of his style is provocative, but in the end it’s what he does that matters,” Mr Howard at a University of Sydney event.
When asked whether Trump had the astuteness to handle Russia and China, Howard said it was still too early.
“We’ve got to allow for the growing influence that could be brought by the Secretary of State ... he is a very able man who was extremely successful in business. He’s had a quiet start but perhaps that’s a good thing,” he said.
“I do think there’s a rush to judgement on this bloke, on Trump, which is understandable because he’s so powerful ... but we’ve got to be careful we don’t fall through the trap of rushing to judgment.
Howard refused to speculate on whether Trump would stop tweeting, only saying: “He’s not going to”.
He did, however, confess he found some of Trump’s foreign policy actions “unsettling”.
“I think some of the things Trump has done on the international stage have been unsettling ... talk of trade sanctions against China are very unsettling before the world. He is a little unpredictable on that,” he said.
Howard commended Malcolm Turnbull on how he handled relations with the US leader, saying he performed “very well”.
“I think Malcolm Turnbull came out of the exchange over the Manus Island deal as somebody who was sticking up for Australian national interests and that’s what a prime minister should do,” Howard said.
The former prime minister also applauded Trump’s handling of Syria — calling it “outstanding” — and urged the world to be patient with him.
Howard’s comments come a day after Trump took to Twitter to declare his eldest son “innocent” following revelations that Donald Trump Jr met with a Russian lawyer to get dirt on Hillary Clinton that he was told came from the Kremlin.
“My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!” the president tweeted, referring to his son’s Monday-night interview with Fox News.
“Why aren’t the same standards placed on the Democrats, Look what Hillary Clinton may have gotten away with. Disgraceful!”
He also claimed to have “very little time for watching TV” and that his White House was “functioning perfectly”.