What was this guy thinking? Yes, true, his relationship with Trump started out on a bad foot, but they seemed to have smoothed things over the last time they met. Either Turnbull misjudged Trump badly in assuming he’ll laugh this off as good-natured fun (note the line about the “Russian guy” in particular) or he convinced himself that the audio wouldn’t leak, which is madness in an age of ubiquitous smartphones.
He … seems to have convinced himself that the audio wouldn’t leak:
The Midwinter Ball is the premier event of the political year in the Australian capital, Canberra, a mixing of journalists, advisers and politicians, similar to the White House Correspondents Dinner.
But unlike the US version, the leader’s speech is supposed to be off the record. However, Channel Nine decided to air it when parts of Turnbull’s speech were posted to social media.
Turnbull said afterwards that he was “disappointed” that the audio had gone public, but the U.S. embassy in Australia was appropriately diplomatic, commenting, “We understand that last night’s event is equivalent to our own White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” Good point. Since when has anything said at a White House Correspondents Dinner sent Donald Trump off on an enraged years-long quest for revenge?
Ah well. China will be the leading power in the Far East soon enough. Turnbull’s just getting in good with the new boss.