- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2017

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull mocked President Trump Wednesday night in a speech to journalists that was supposed to be off the record.

Australia’s Channel Nine has leaked audio from Parliament’s annual Midwinter Ball in Canberra, citing the belief that reporting should not be banned at events hosted by journalists.

In his speech, Mr. Turnbull impersonated Mr. Trump’s demeanor and made fun of his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, much to the crowd’s delight.

“It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever,” he joked about his meeting with Mr. Trump last month in New York.

“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,” he said as the crowd roared with laughter. “Not the fake polls, they are the ones we’re not winning. We’re winning in the real polls, you know, the online polls. They are so easy to win.

“I have this Russian guy. Believe me, it’s true, it is true,” he added.

On Thursday, Mr. Turnbulltold 3AW radio in Melbourne that his speech was meant to be a “good humored roast.”

“[It was] light-hearted, affectionately light-hearted,” he said. “It’s a breach of protocol, it’s a breach of faith and all those things, but it’s light-hearted, affectionate, good natured.

“The butt of my jokes was myself,” he added. “It was fun, we’ve got to lighten up.”

The U.S. Embassy told Channel Nine that it understood Mr. Turnbull’s intentions.

“We understand that last night’s event is equivalent to our own White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” an embassy spokesperson said.

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