Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mocked President Donald Trump in a speech on Wednesday night. In his delivery before journalists and politicians who were celebrating the Australian Parliament’s annual Midwinter Ball, Turnbull ridiculed his own efforts to form cordial relations with Trump during a meeting last month in New York City aboard a Navy aircraft carrier. After their meeting, Trump said his relationship with Turnbull was “fantastic.” In January, Trump had a telephone exchange with Turnbull that was leaked, allegedly by elements of the American intelligence community. Trump said afterward that any reports of poor communications with the Australian leader were exaggerated.
At the Midwinter Ball, Turnbull told the crowd, "It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever." At the ball, Turnbull impersonated Trump's speaking style during the speech and also mocked their poor showing in recent opinion polls. "The Donald and I, we are winning and winning in the polls. We are winning so much! We are winning like we have never won before. We are winning in the polls. 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," Turnbull said, to applause and laughter.
Turnbull made light of Trump's clashes with Congressional Democrats and the FBI over allegations that Russia meddled in the 2016 general election. "You know the online polls. they are so easy to win. I know that. Did you know that? I kind of know that. They are so easy to win. I have this Russian guy. Believe me it's true, it is true," Turnbull said.
Unlike the White House Correspondents Dinner, the prime minister’s speech had been off-the-record. However, Australian newspapers began running excerpts of the speech once they appeared on social media. In a later interview on 3AW in Australia, Turnbull said he was "disappointed" the speech had been leaked, but described it as "good humored." He said, “It’s light-hearted, affectionate, good-natured and the butt of my jokes was myself."
The American Embassy in Australia released a statement dismissing concerns over Turnbull’s remarks. “We understand that last night’s event is equivalent to our own White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” it read. “We take this with the good humour that was intended.” The embassy also announced that June is officially LGBTQI Pride month.