Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shrugged off a leaked video of him mocking his U.S. counterpart, President Donald Trump, earlier this week, calling it a bit of good-natured fun.
Speaking to Australia’s 3AW radio station on Thursday, Turnbull said the remarks were “affectionately light hearted.”
He added, “You’ve got to have a laugh, we’ve got to lighten up.”
Turnbull was speaking at the Australian Parliament’s annual Midwinter Ball on Wednesday.
Similar to the White House Correspondents’ dinner stateside, the ball is a premier event on the political calendar, gathering journalists, politicians and business leaders in Canberra. Turnbull’s speech, however, was supposed to be off the record.
The video was leaked on Australia’s Nine News network by veteran journalist Laurie Oakes.
Turnbull confirmed to 3AW that his speech was meant to be off the record and that he was “disappointed” by the leak, calling it a “breach of protocol … (and) faith.”
“Yes I am, well I am disappointed and I think it’s, so I guess what that means is that next year at the Mid-Winter Ball I will read selected passages from Budget Paper number 2,” he said.
Last month, Turnbull and Trump met face-to-face on-board the USS Intrepid, a World War Two aircraft carrier which has been turned into a museum in New York. Following an explosive phone call earlier this year that put a strain on the bilateral relationship, Trump said in May the two leaders “get along great.”
On Wednesday, Turnbull alluded to the New York meeting and said, “It was beautiful. It was the most beautiful putting-me-at-ease ever.”
He took a shot at the ongoing investigations into the Trump team’s alleged ties with Russia, and said, “I have this Russian guy. Believe me it’s true, it is true.”
Reuters reported Thursday the White House brushed off the leaked video, quoting a senior official saying, “I don’t think anybody cares about that.”
The U.S. embassy in Canberra said it took Turnbull’s remarks with “good humor that was intended,” said Reuters.