During Friday’s state visit, Donald Trump and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison will highlight the collaboration between their two nations, especially in hot spot fields of Iran and North Korea. But friendship will also be on the menu in the president’s administration’s second state dinner alone.
The visit from the Australian prime minister marks a century of good relationship ‘100 years of Mateship’ as a senior administration addressed it on Thursday and will lay the foundation ‘for another 100 years,’ Morrison told reporters ahead of his arrival.
‘There are many larger, I suppose, more powerful friends that America has, but they know that they do not have a more sure and steadfast friend than Australia,’ he said. ‘And so I’m looking forward to spending time with our American friends here over the next few days and celebrating our tremendous relationship.’
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.
The morning arrival ceremony will feature nearly 500 U.S. Armed Forces members from the five army branches for a’ Troop Review.’ Invited visitors for the arrival will include the Cabinet of the President, Congress representatives, army relatives, and Australian Embassy visitors. Morrison will also be honored with a luncheon at the State Department hosted by Secretary Mike Pompeo.
Besides a formal welcome in Washington D.C. and conferences. Trump and Morrison will be traveling to Ohio on Sunday to visit a fresh manufacturing plant in Australia on Friday. Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt, who is a large fan of Trump, owns the plant. Their discussions on Friday will concentrate on a variety of problems with a focus on the Pacific region, including military and economic problems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.