Malcolm Turnbull, Australian prime minister, has advised US President Donald Trump to stop criticising the media over the coverage of his administration.
Since he assumed office, Trump has repeatedly described negative media reports about him as “fake news”, even labelling the media as the “opposition party.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Turnbull, whose relationship with Trump got off to a rocky start, said the 45th American president should stop focusing on the media.
“A very great politician, Winston Churchill, once said that politicians complaining about the newspapers is like a sailor complaining about the sea,” Turnbull told reporters in New Zealand on Friday.
“There is not much point. That is the media we live with and we have to get our message across and we thank you all in the media for your kind attention.”
Turnbull is speaking from experience as he faces a constant stream of questions from domestic media about his leadership, with opinion polls showing the popularity of his center-right government sinking to its lowest in more than a year.
In February, relations between the United States and Australia hit a low point when Trump said on Twitter that a planned refugee swap between the two nations was a “dumb deal.”
Asked about his dealings with Trump, Turnbull said: “President Trump and I have had several calls now, very constructive calls.
“It was frank and forthright and it was very valuable.”
Turnbull also warned against a more protectionist US trade stance in response to Trump’s vow to renegotiate trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the North American Free Trade Agreement
“Protectionism is not the ladder to get you out of the low growth track, it is the shovel to dig it deeper and deeper and deeper.”