WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Saturday with various world leaders, amid growing international alarm and a legal challenge over his moves to drastically limit Muslim immigration to the United States.
In a flurry of calls that started early in the morning and rounded out an already frantically paced week, Trump spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has calls planned for later in the day with French President Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The conversations gave the US president an early opportunity to explain new policies that have baffled and unnerved much of the rest of the world — particularly his order to temporarily halt all refugee arrivals and those of travelers from seven mainly Muslim countries including war-wracked Syria.
The calls also allow him to start developing ties with countries that have been close allies with the United States in recent history, as well as Russia — a perennial foe, but a country with which Trump has said he is keen to improve relations.