Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images
Photo: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Australian PM downplays mocking Trump in off-the-record speech

Malcolm Turnbull downplayed a leaked video that showed the Australian prime minister mocking President Donald Trump during an off-the-record speech at a charity ball, Fox News reported.

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Turnbull, speaking at Parliament House, made fun of Trump and the Australian government’s poor showing in opinion polls. He later characterized the impersonation as “lighthearted and affectionate channeling,” Fox News reported.

In an animated performance, Turnbull told the audience that “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,” Trumbull continued. “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.

“I have this Russian guy, believe me, it’s true, it’s true.”

Politics editor Laurie Oakes of 9News reportedly decided to reveal the contents of the video. “The idea of the Press Gallery Committee ... declaring it off the record is just ludicrous,” he told 9News.

In a statement, the U.S. Embassy said “We understand that last night’s event is equivalent to our White House Correspondents’ Dinner. We take this with the good humor that was intended.”

On Friday, Turnbull said the speech had to be seen in an Australian cultural context.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously,” he told Fox News. “I don’t think it demonstrates that I’m up for ‘Saturday Night Live’ yet.”

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