Americans, Australians Gather in White House Rose Garden for State Dinner

WASHINGTON—A glittering crowd of American and Australian luminaries gathered under the stars in the White House Rose Garden Friday.

The president and first lady Melania Trump welcomed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife, Jenny, to the White House for just the second state dinner of the Trump administration.

Just after midnight on Sept. 21, Trump tweeted: “I want to express my gratitude to America’s magnificent [First Lady] for tonight’s exquisite evening where we celebrated more than a century of loyal and devoted friendship between [the United States and Australia]. Both of our nations are blessed by uncommon courage, unfailing commitment, and unyielding character!”

Trump’s tweet was accompanied by a 1-minute video montage of the evening.

Shortly after, Morrison tweeted: “Thank you [President Donald Trump] and [The First Lady] for a wonderful evening.”

At the dinner, the first lady wore an aqua silk chiffon gown by J. Mendel with inserted pleats and bias-cut waves, the White House said. Morrison’s wife wore a midnight blue sequined halter-style gown, exposing her shoulders once she was inside the White House.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump (R) welcome Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and wife Jenny Morrison for an Official Visit with a State Dinner at the North Portico of the White House on Sept. 20, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny Morrison as they arrive for a State Dinner at the White House, Washington, on Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump, First lady Melania Trump, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (partially hidden) and wife Jenny Morrison (not pictured) walk through the Colonnade to the Rose Garden for an Official Visit with a State Dinner at the White House on Sept. 20, 2019. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

 

First Lady Melania Trump speaks during a state dinner honoring Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Australian First Lady Jennifer Morrison at the White House on Sept. 20, 2019. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Dinner centerpieces were made using more than 2,500 yellow California roses and Australia’s national flower, the golden wattle, while the garden itself was decorated with white and yellow roses. Musical groups from the U.S. military provided entertainment.

A table is set during a media preview for the State Dinner with President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)
State Dinner with President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

Music could be heard across the South Lawn just below an illuminated White House as guests descended the outside staircases to join the garden party.

A military band plays on the Colonnade during a media preview for the State Dinner with President Donald Trump and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington on Sept. 20, 2019.. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“It’s so beautiful, and it will be so different,” Trump said earlier Friday about his first state dinner in more than a year, noting that he had watched a rehearsal the night before. “And we look up to the skies, and we’re just going to hope that it’s not going to rain. And if it is, that’s OK, too, because that will work out also.”

Morrison, who has been in office for a little over a year, thanked Trump for the “tremendous honor.”

Guests at the state dinner included several Cabinet secretaries, members of Congress, White House staff and an Australian delegation that included pro golfer Greg Norman.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, and wife Susan Pompeo arrive for a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump at the White House,in Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Golfer Greg Norman, right, and wife Kirsten Kutner arrive for a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump at the White House, in Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for President Donald Trump, and Maria Ryan arrive for a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump at the White House, in Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., left, and wife Gayle Conelly Manchin arrive for a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump at the White House, in Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Television host Maria Bartiromo, right, and husband Jonathan Steinberg arrive for a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump at the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump’s White House Senior Adviser Stephen Miller, left, and Katie Waldman arrive for a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump at the White House, in Washington on Sept. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

On a big day for diplomacy, Morrison and his wife also worked in a State Department luncheon hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

At an afternoon news conference in the grand East Room, Trump said he and the prime minister “talked about everything you can talk about,” including military issues and trade. Morrison said he and the president share a “passion for jobs” and he commended Trump for his record on job creation.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he meets with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., Sept. 20, 2019. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Australia was last a recipient of a U.S. state visit in 2006 when President George W. Bush feted Prime Minister John Howard.

When it comes to state dinners, Trump has been the honored guest on state visits to Japan and Britain this year alone, in addition to other such visits in his first two years in office, including to Beijing on what China billed as a “state visit, plus.” Trump’s first state visitor was French President Emmanuel Macron last year.

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Author: Epoch Times Staff, The Associated Press

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