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Australia’s Ambassador Kevin Rudd Won’t Stay If He’s ‘Hostile,’ Trump Says

(Bloomberg) -- Former US President Donald Trump said Australia’s Ambassador to Washington Kevin Rudd is “not the brightest bulb” and warned he’s unlikely to stay in the role for long if he’s “hostile” to a second Trump administration.

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Rudd, a former Australian prime minister, was appointed ambassador to the US by the center-left Labor government in December 2022. However, prior to taking up the role, he had made a number of highly critical remarks about Trump while commenting on US politics.

He called Trump a “traitor to the West” in a social media post in February 2022 and two years before that, while Trump was still in the White House, Rudd described him as the “most destructive president in history.”

Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican party presidential nominee, told the right-leaning GB News that he didn’t “know much about” Rudd, but said the former prime minister wouldn’t keep his ambassadorial role for long if he was hostile to a Trump administration.

“I heard he was a little bit nasty. I hear he’s not the brightest bulb. But I don’t know much about him. But if he’s at all hostile, he will not be there long,” Trump told former UK lawmaker Nigel Farage in an interview.

Australia is preparing the ground for Trump’s return to the White House should President Joe Biden lose the November election. The US is Australia’s most important security ally, particularly since the signing of the Aukus agreement in 2021 that will see Washington help Canberra obtain a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines.

During the first Trump administration, Australia’s center-right government established a solid relationship with the Republican president, unlike some other US allies. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s center-left government might find it more challenging given the ideological divide with Trump.

Speaking on Wednesday in Canberra, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Rudd would remain US ambassador in the event of a second Trump administration, adding that the former prime minister had been a “very effective” envoy.

(Adds comment from Australian foreign minister in final paragraph.)

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