President Biden orchestrated a mock withdrawal from a meeting with newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Tuesday, in which a Down Underer man recalled a trip to the United States and a visit to the National Rifle Association more than three decades ago.
During a one-on-one session on the sidelines of the Quartet leaders’ summit in Tokyo, Al-Albani – who led Australia’s Labor Party’s victory in Saturday’s general election – told a story about coming to America for five weeks as a guest at the Foreign Office.
You can design a theme [for the program]I — I wanted to see the groups interact with the US government, said Albanese, 59. So I’ve done everything from the National Rifle Association to the Sierra Club to Planned Parenthood to the full range – Caboodles across the spectrum. †
At the mention of the NRA, Biden stood up and began to turn away before stopping to tell Albany, “You’re a brave man.”
Al-Albani replied: “I am.”
“You’re a brave man,” Biden repeated, later adding, “The Sierra Club and the National Rifle…”
“But it was – an opportunity to see – the whole diversity of the way the country operates,” Al Albani said, recalling fondly receiving safety briefings in Hawaii and noting that “the State Department is also good enough to take a trip to Vegas as well.”
He added, “I don’t know exactly where this is, but it was – it’s been a really good ride.”
In the last meeting with Al-Albani and the two other leaders of the Quartet – Japanese Prime Minister Kashida Fumio and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – Biden teased the Australian leader about attending the high-level summit shortly after his election.
“Welcome to the first quadruple meeting. Like I said, I got on a plane—and took an oath and got on a plane. And I—if you sleep while you’re here, that’s okay. I don’t know how you do it,” Biden said because I don’t know.
“It really is quite extraordinary. I am also directed at the campaign trail.”
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