Friday, 12 February 2016

Setting the record straight on one of Tony Abbott's phantasies in 2016

Malcolm Turnbull’s first official visit to the U.S. since becoming Australian Prime Minister occurred this year. He met with President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC on 19 January 2016.

The occasion was attended by an obligatory White House press release and photo opportunities:

At the end of January sacked former prime minister Tony Abbott hotfooted it to Washington and then briefed News Corp to the effect that on 30 January he attended an exclusive banquet and had a private meeting with President Obama.

There was no official White House media release and the only photo opportunities with the president were outside the lunch venue and did not feature Abbott:

The casual shot above of lunch guests leaving the venue does show Tony Abbott at the top of the stairs, but the only other image that was offered to backup Tony Abbott's bae phantasy was file video of he and Peta Credlin wandering forlornly in what appears to be a park in the UK:

The real facts are that Tony Abbott attended a 100-seat lunch as a guest of one of the members of what is essentially a powerful old fogey’s group, the Alfalfa Club, which meets one day a year.

That club member was newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch.

This year President Obama attended the lunch. Knowing the pattern of such gatherings it is safe to assume that Tony Abbott would have been lucky to speak with Obama for 10 minutes before the president’s skillful aides separated him from Abbott.

Abbott also attended the club’s annual dinner that night which Obama had politely declined to attend. Obama has only ever attended two of these annual dinners during his presidency.

When Abbott was finally sprung fibbing and it was revealed that there were no private meetings with Obama at that lunch, this was the response from a member of Tony's staff on 8 February 2016:

Mr Abbott was pleased to have the opportunity to speak with President Obama privately at a lunch on Saturday 30 January, 2016

It seem that he will not give up his pork pie without a fight.

NOTE: Photographs were found at The Guardian, The Malay Mail Online, Twitter, UPI, Sky News.

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