Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered his best impression of President Donald Trump Wednesday night at an event packed with reporters, joking that he and the president “are winning so much. We are winning like we have never won before.”
The remarks from Turnbull came at a press ball similar to the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, where the president traditionally delivers light-hearted, joking remarks. Trump, who has loudly complained about his treatment by the press, broke with decades of tradition and did not attend this year’s event.
Turnbull’s event, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, was supposed to be off the record, but recordings of his remarks nonetheless emerged.
“It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever,” the prime minister said, impersonating Trump’s speaking style to applause and laughter from the crowd. “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’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 continued.
The relationship between Turnbull and Trump got off to a rocky start shortly after the president’s inauguration, reportedly butting heads in a phone call over a refugee resettlement deal agreed to by former President Barack Obama. Trump reportedly called it “the worst deal ever” and suggested that among the refugees Obama had agreed to take in could be the “next Boston bombers.”
Trump also reportedly told Turnbull that their conversation had been “the worst call by far” of his interactions with foreign leaders.
But Turnbull disputed some of the reporting about the call, telling reporters that the conversation had ended “courteously” and that Trump had not hung up on him, as had been reported. The two men appeared friendly during Turnbull’s visit to New York last month.
Turnbull called his jokes “lighthearted, affectionate,” and “good-natured.” The U.S. embassy in Australia, in a statement to the Journal, said that’s how they were taken.
“We understand that last night’s event is equivalent to our own White House Correspondents’ Dinner. We take this with the good humor that was intended,” the U.S. embassy said.