U.S. President Donald Trump welcomed Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison to the White House on Friday, praising the ‘long-cherished and unwavering friendship’ and ‘exceptional alliance’ the two nations have enjoyed for more than a century.
‘Last year our nations commemorated “100 years of Mateship” since our gallant servicemembers fought together in World War I,’ Trump boasted, after the two men reviewed troops, witnessed a 19-gun salute, posed for selfies with people on a rope line and heard their national anthems.
A fife and drum corps in replica Revolutionary War-era uniforms marched across the lawn, led by a drum major carrying a gleaming, sharpened pike.
Trump highlighted ‘our shared fights against the menace of fascism, communism and radical Islamic terrorism.’
‘Thanks, mate!’ Morrison told him as the rare ceremony unfolded on the South Lawn. ‘You won’t find a more sure and steadfast friend,’ he said.
Morrison praised the United States, saying ‘the world is a better place because of this country living out its moral purpose.’
President Donald Trump walked across the White House’s South lawn on Friday with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (left), who is in Washington for an official State Visit
First ladies Melania Trump (right) and Jenny Morrison (left) joined their husbands for the ceremony on Friday
Trump and Morrison reviewed troops as a Marine band played
The unusual pomp at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue came at the beginning of what is just the second State Visit Trump has hosted for a foreign leader
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said Friday that about 4,000 people attended the welcome ceremony.
While the two leaders emphasized international cooperation, friendship is also on the menu during what is only the second state dinner of the president’s administration.
Friday’s schedule has the two men meeting for bilateral talks and holding a joint press conference – a day that will be capped off with a formal black tie dinner beneath the stars in the White House Rose Garden.
9:00 am: President Trump and Melania Trump welcome Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Jenny Morrison on the South Lawn
9:30 am: The two couples participate in the official guest book signing and leader gift exchange
10 am: Bilateral meeting between Trump and Morrison
11:45 am: Press conference with Trump and Morrison
7 pm: The Trumps welcome the Morrisons for the state dinner
8:20 pm: State dinner formally begins
The morning arrival ceremony will feature nearly 500 members of the United States Armed Forces from the five military branches for a ‘Review of the Troops.’
Invited guests for the arrival include the president’s Cabinet, Members of Congress, military families, and guests of the Australian Embassy.
Morrison will also be honored with a luncheon at the State Department hosted by Secretary Mike Pompeo.
In addition to a formal welcome and meetings in Washington D.C. on Friday, the Trump and Morrison will travel to Ohio on Sunday to tour a new, Australian-owned manufacturing facility there.
The plant is owned by Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt, who is a big Trump supporter.
Their talks on Friday will focus on a range of issues including military and economic with a focus on the Pacific region.
Trump’s trade war with China will likely come up as China is Australia’s leading trade partner and the U.S. one of its oldest allies – putting the country in an awkward position.
The leaders plan to sign a memorandum of understanding to further U.S. and Australia cooperation in space and on the use of rare earth minerals, according to a senior administration official.
A fife and drum corps in replicas of Revolutionary War-era uniforms played Friday at the White House
About 4,000 people attended Friday’s ceremony, which included a 19-gun salute and military bands playing the American and Australian national anthems
The dinner for the Australian prime minister will take place in the Rose Garden of the White House
The dinner centerpieces feature more than 2,500 roses from California in shades of yellow and Australia’s national floral emblem, the golden wattle
Military musicians will entertain the guests at Friday night’s event
Climate change and the situation with Iran will also be on the agenda.
‘Australia has been a tremendous partner for us as it relates to Iran’s nuclear program and towards some of the challenges we face with Iran,’ a senior administration official said Thursday on a call with reporters previewing the visit.
State Dinner Menu
Shaved Summer Vegetables
Dover Sole with Parsley Crisps
Zucchini Squash Blossoms
Baby Garlic Rouille
Lady Apple Tart
Calvados Ice Cream
Spring Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2017
The Argyle Pinot Noir ‘Reserve’ 2016
J Demi-Sec NV
Australia joined the American-led effort last month to protect ships from Iranian threats in the critical Strait of Hormuz.
After the day of meetings, the two couples will gather in the White House Rose Garden where Australia’s national colors set for the state dinner.
Green and gold dominated the decor and table settings for the outdoor event, which will take place just steps away from the Oval Office.
The colors decorating the dinner stage were derived from the national flower of Australia, the golden wattle, which has a yellow flower and green foliage.
The East Wing offered a preview of the event to reporters Thursday night, show casing two of the tables that will be set up for the occasion while a military string orchestra played.
Flowers heavily dominate the decorations – an appropriate choice given its Rose Garden location. American varieties of yellow and white roses will set the back drop for the evening.
The dinner centerpieces feature more than 2,500 roses from California in shades of yellow and Australia’s national floral emblem, the golden wattle.
The menu highlights the late summer season from America and pays homage to Australia’s special blend of culinary adaptations from its various cultures, the East Wing said in a statement.
First lady Melania Trump picked the theme and decorations
Melania Trump chose a table setting and decor that would reflect the strong ties between the United States and Australia, according to her office.
Musical groups from the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force will entertain the guests.
But the most glamorous moment of the visit will be the dinner.
The guest list will be a closely guarded secret until the invited start arriving at the White House Friday evening for the black-tie event.
Guests will likely include the vice president, administration officials, along with prominent Australians and Americans.
Australian pro golfer Greg Norman, a longtime friend of the president’s, told The Associated Press he will be attending.
Lachlan Murdoch, CEO of Fox Corp., will attend, while his father, Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch sits out this dinner, a Fox representative told AP.
Australian flags were up around the White House complex Thursday ahead of the visit
The occasion is being called an ‘official visit’ instead of state visit as Morrison is not the head of state for Australia. That would be Queen Elizabeth.
Friday’s state dinner marks the second time the Trumps have bestowed such an honor on a visiting world leader. The first was for French President Emmanuel Macron in April 2018.
In the first 24 months in office, President Barack Obama held three state dinners; President George W. Bush held two state dinners and President Bill Clinton held one state dinner, according to the White House Historical Association.
The last time Australia was honored was on May 16, 2006, when George W. Bush hosted Prime Minister John Howard.
A state dinner usually conveys a unique bond between the two countries. Macron was one of the first European leaders to embrace Trump’s presidency.