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Joe Biden pretends to leave meeting when Australian PM mentions NRA

President Biden staged a mock walk-out from a meeting with newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday when the man from Down Under recalled a trip to the US and a visit with the National Rifle Association more than three decades ago. 

During a bilateral sitdown on the sidelines of the Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo, Albanese — who led the Australian Labor Party to victory in Saturday’s general election — regaled the president with a story about coming to America for five weeks as a guest of the State Department.

“You could design a theme [for the program], and mine was — I wanted to see the interaction of groups with the US government,” said Albanese, 59. “So I did everything from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club to Planned Parenthood to the full — the full kit​ and​ caboodle across the spectrum​.”

At the mention of the NRA, Biden stood up and began to walk away before pausing to tell Albanese, “You’re a brave man.”

President Biden jokingly pretended to walk away as Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese mentioned the NRA.
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

“I​ am​,” Albanese responded. 

“You’re a brave man,” Biden repeated, later adding, “The Sierra Club and the National Rifle …”

​”But it was an — an opportunity to see the — the full diversity of the way that the country operates,” said Albanese, who fondly recalled receiving security briefings in Hawaii and noting that “the US State Department was good enough as well to manage to justify a trip to Vegas as well.”

PM Albanese regaled President Biden with a story about coming to America for five weeks as a guest of the State Department.
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS
President Biden joked with PM Anthony Albanese about attending the high-level summit so soon after his election.
Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS

“I’m not quite sure where that fitted in,” he added, “but it was a — it was a good trip indeed.”

In an earlier meeting with Albanese and the two other leaders in the Quad — Japanese Prime Minister Kashida Fumio and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — Biden joked with the Australian leader about attending the high-level summit so soon after his election.

“I welcome you to your first Quad meeting.  Like I said, you got on a plane — you were sworn in and got on a plane. And I’m — if you fall asleep while you’re here, it’s okay.  Because I don’t know how you’re doing it,” Biden said. 

“It is really quite extraordinary. Just getting off the campaign trail as well,” he said.