Australia's Minister for Defense Marise Payne has fully backed U.S. President Donald Trump, saying he doesn't "fit into a square box" while applauding the country's relationship with the United States as being strong as ever.
Her praise comes two days after Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull threw his full support behind Mr. Trump, calling him an "American patriot" who is loyally serving his country to the utmost of his ability.
The Australian newspaper reports Senator Payne delivered her personal character assessment of Mr. Trump while touring UK naval shipyards to inspect the Type 26 frigates that will form the basis of Australia's nine $35bn Hunter class frigates to be built in South Australia.
She said that she was "astutely confident'' about Australia's current and future strategic alignment with the United States, something she felt sure would be reinforced at a meeting next week with her U.S. counterparts despite the upheaval of the past week. Senator Payne said:
It is very interesting to see how the world views someone who doesn't fit in a square box. The international scene, for as long as I have been involved in politics, has been filled with characters who don't fit into square boxes and on this occasion it happens to be the President of the United States.
The depth though of our relationship, its history and its breadth, is what underpins the strength of our alliance and I am very confident in that.
Australia is the only country that has fought alongside the U.S. in every major conflict of the last century. Australian and U.S. troops first went into battle together in World War I near Amiens in France. Since then, they have worked as a team in World War II, Korea, South Vietnam, and countless peacekeeping operations as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last year the Australian Ambassador to Washington, D.C., Joe Hockey, warned that constant criticism of the Trump administration ignores the fact that the president and his appointees are "very focused on practical policy outcomes."
The ambassador cited Mr. Trump's hostility to the Washington establishment, elite U.S. media organizations and his frustration with an intransigent Congress as evidence that he has tapped a popular nerve with Americans.
He predicted Trump supporters will back their man as the administration progresses. "So far, they accept that he is delivering on his promises... He is their president and they are forgiving of his sins."
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