Barack Obama worked with several Australian prime minsters during his eight-year stint in the White House, but now one of the former president’s staff members has revealed which of the Aussie leaders he didn’t get on with.
Speaking to The Australian, Ben Rhodes, lifted the lid on Obama’s relationships with all four prime ministers who resided in the Lodge during Obama’s two terms in office, between 2009 and 2017.
Due to leadership spills in both the Labor and Liberal parties, whilst Obama was serving as president of the United States, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull all had a go at leading Australia.
And, describing their relationship as “very difficult”, Rhodes revealed it was actually former leader of the Liberal Party Tony Abbott who Obama struggled to form a bond with, due to their opposing political views.
However he went on to reveal that Obama found it far easier to relate to the recently ousted PM Malcolm Turnbull.
Rhodes also told The Australian that Obama got on well with both Labor bosses who served during his own time in the top office, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, revealing that he shared a “very warm” relationship with Julia Gillard.
In fact, Obama is said to have gotten along so well with Gillard, who ran the country between 2010 and 2013, that they still keep in touch to this day.
Rhodes, who worked as deputy national security adviser and foreign policy speechwriter under Obama, has now written a book about his time in the White House, titled The World as It Is.
Turnbull, who was replaced as prime minister by former treasurer Scott Morrison a matter of weeks ago, also enjoyed a somewhat harmonious relationship with current US President Donald Trump.
Back in March, Republican Trump publicly praised Turnbull on Twitter, in an announcement about “the great nation of Australia”.
“He is committed to having a very fair and reciprocal military and trade relationship,” Trump wrote. “Working very quickly on a security agreement so we don’t have to impose steel or aluminium tariffs on our ally, the great nation of Australia.”
Rhodes’ book also discusses many foreign policy issues, from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to US relations with China and Russia, the Iran nuclear deal and the ebola epidemic.