Trump hosts Australian prime minister for White House state dinner

Ns News Online DeskNs News Online Desk: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcomed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife, Jennifer, to the White House Friday with a pomp-filled military ceremony and a lavish state dinner.

More than 4,500 were in attendance for the welcoming ceremony on the White House lawn. The ceremony included Marine band performances of the national anthem of both countries, inspection of the troops and a 19-gun salute. While foreign heads of state traditionally get a 21-gun salute, Australia’s official head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, so Morrison got the salute designated for a head of government.

Trump spoke of the “unbreakable bond” between the two countries and honored the “100 years of mateship” that was celebrated last year to mark 100 years since troops from the US and Australia fought alongside each other in World War I.

Morrison is just the second world leader to be granted a state visit during the Trump administration after French President Emmanuel Macron, who was feted last year. The leaders met for talks on trade, space, China and Afghanistan. They also faced journalists in the Oval Office and at a joint news conference in the White House East Room.

“The world is a better place because of this country living out its moral purpose — a world not just more secure, but more prosperous as well,” Morrison said of ­America.

Trump added, “We’ve been great allies for a long time. There’s no better partnership. And we’ve developed, on a personal basis, a tremendous friendship.” The state visit concluded with an opulent dinner under the stars in the Rose Garden.

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