Australia PM Malcolm Turnbull roasts Donald Trump on winning, polls and Russia
You know what they say: In the age of smartphones, there's no such thing as off the record. It's a lesson Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has learned the hard way.
On Thursday, Turnbull delivered a jovial speech at Parliament House's annual press ball, the equivalent of the White House Correspondent's Dinner.
In it, he made fun of the Australian government's dismal poll rankings. And he did so using a verbal tick made popular by a certain world leader.
In the speech, revealed by Australia's Channel Nine, Turnbull was heard making fun of his meeting with Trump in New York last month. "It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever," he joked.
"Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls," Turnbull said. "We are winning so much. We are winning like we have never won before." To raucous laughter, he continued: "We are winning in the polls. We are, we are - not the fake polls, not the fake polls - they're the ones we're not winning in. We're winning in the real polls, you know, the online polls. They are so easy to win."
Though the speech was off the record, it was recorded on a phone and broadcast by the Nine Network.
Turnbull also referenced Trump's Russia troubles. Referencing his supposed glowing polls, Turnbull asked: "Did you know that? I know that, did you know that? I kind of know that. I know that. They are so easy to win. I have this Russian guy."
The prime minister later tried to walk back his remarks, telling Melbourne Radio 3AW that he was disappointed by the leak.
"It's a breach of protocol, it's a breach of faith and all those things," he said.
Though he also noted the obvious: He was only kidding. "It's lighthearted, it's affectionate, good-natured and the butt of my jokes was myself," the prime minister said.
The US Embassy in Canberra released a statement saying they take the impersonation "with the good humour that was intended."
Historically, Australia has been one of America's closest allies, though that relationship has been tested under Trump.
Turnbull's first telephone call with Trump was, in the president's words, "testy."
Trump was surprised and angry to learn about a deal that required the United States to accept about 1250 refugees who'd made their way to Australia.
Since then, though, the pair has made an effort to appear close, at least in public.
Turnbull is rarely critical of the US president, and even shares some of his hard-line views about immigration.
- The Washington Post