New Zealand PM misses call from Donald Trump in 'hurly burly' after earthquake
John Key, the New Zealand prime minister, missed a call from US president-elect Donald Trump while dealing with the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on Monday.
Trump was calling Key as part of his first phase of reaching out to world leaders during his transition to the White House.
Trump’s office set up the call with Key in advance, but the prime minster was caught up with the fallout from the natural disaster, which left two people dead, hundreds stranded, and missed the phone call.
Key explained the diplomatic faux pas to the New Zealand Herald.
“What happened was there was a bit of a discussion between my office and his office on the Saturday about a call,” he said.
“We weren’t strictly sure when the President-elect was going to ring, they said it was in the next couple of hours.”
When the call came, Key failed to see it.
“I didn’t see the call when it came in, in the hurly burly of things I didn’t notice,” he said.
“They then made contact with our foreign affairs people and said they had tried to call and hadn’t been successful.”
Key said another call had been set up for Wednesday. He said he understood Trump was calling to express his condolences over the earthquake and to discuss US-New Zealand relations.
Trump has been talking to world leaders as part of his preparation for taking office. On Monday he spoke to Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. .
According to a Kremlin summary of the phone call, Putin said he was ready for “a dialogue of partnership with the new administration based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in the internal affairs of each other”.