The Cable

Listen: Behind Closed Doors, Malcolm Turnbull Roasts Trump

The media ball was supposed to be off record, but audio of the joking prime minister leaked.

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The U.S.-Australia relationship, once rock-solid, has taken something of a hit under President Donald Trump. There was the first phone call between the two leaders, during which Trump berated Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over a refugee deal that was reached with U.S. President Barack Obama. Then, there was their meeting in New York in May, when the two announced they “get along great,” a statement that was derided back in Australia. And now there is leaked audio from Wednesday’s media ball at Parliament House in Canberra, which was meant to be off the record.

“It was beautiful,” Turnbull jokes, mocking one of Trump’s favorite words. “It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever.”

“The Donald and I,” he goes on, “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! 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. The online polls. They are so easy to win.”

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

“We take this with the good humor that was intended,” the U.S. Embassy in Canberra said, which is, of course, exactly how Trump takes jokes made at his expense.

Photo credit:  BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Emily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy covering ambassadorial and diplomatic affairs in Washington. @emilyctamkin

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