Nine News Australia obtained the footage of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at Wednesday night’s Midwinter Ball, an annual event attended by politicians, journalists and other power brokers.
The event was supposed to be off the record, HuffPost Australia reported, to allow politicians to “let their hair down.” That’s just what Turnbull did, launching into a Trump impression as he described meeting his American counterpart last month.
“It was beautiful,” Turnbull said, even delivering Trump-like hand gestures. “It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever.”
Turnbull was just getting warmed up:
“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! 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. ”
The two leaders have had something of a tense relationship ― and at least one heated phone call last February. According to the Washington Post, Trump spent that conversation bragging about his electoral college win and complaining about a refugee agreement between the U.S. and Australia. Trump then told Turnbull it was his “worst call by far.”
“We had a very nice phone call,” Trump said when the two met three months later. “It got a little bit testy, but that is OK.”
The in-person meeting was apparently much friendlier, with Trump saying “I love Australia. I always have.”
The White House tried to downplay the significance of the incident on Thursday.
“I don’t think anybody cares about that,” a senior White House official said, according to Reuters.
“We take this with the good humor that was intended,” the U.S. embassy in Canberra said, adding that it sees the event as the equivalent of the White House Correspondent’s Dinner.
This story has been updated to include comment from the White House and the U.S. embassy in Canberra.