Trump hosts Australian PM for lavish WH state dinner

US President Donald Trump suggested Beijing was eager to make a trade deal because his tariffs were hurting the Chinese economy

President Trump, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and guests will dine on Dover sole and summer squash as US military bands fill the air with music in the green- and gold-themed Rose Garden Friday night - only the second state dinner of the Trump White House.

Australia was final a recipient of a US state go to in 2006, when President George W. Bush welcomed Prime Minister John Howard.

According to the first lady's office, which planned the dinner, the colors for the visit are green and gold, Australia's national colors.

Not long before the president and first lady Melania Trump stepped out of the White House front door and welcomed Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife, Jenny, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the deployment of additional US troops to the Persian Gulf region in response to a recent attack on the Saudi oil industry.

Prime minister Scott Morrison will meet with Mr Trump on Friday ahead of a state dinner later that night.

North Carolina Republican Rep. Mark Meadows says he looks "forward to celebrating tonight". Musical groups from the USA military were to provide after-dinner entertainment.

The White House says First Lady Melania Trump is wearing an aqua silk chiffon gown by J. Mendel to Friday's state dinner for Australia.

The president and his wife, Melania, welcomed the leader from Down Under and his wife, Jenny, earlier Friday for the state visit with a spirited arrival ceremony on the South Lawn.

None of the arriving guests, Republican members of Congress among them, are acknowledging that Trump is sending more US forces to Saudi Arabia to protect it after an attack on oil installations.

"It's so handsome and it will be so different", Trump said about his first state dinner in more than a year, noting that he had watched a rehearsal.

Friday's will be just the second state dinner of Trump's administration and the first in more than a year.

It said, "pays homage to Australia's special blend of culinary adaptations from its various cultures, not unlike the diverse food traditions of the US". Plan B: take the White House state dinner party indoors in the unlikely event that raindrops start to fall.

"On behalf of every American, I extend my profound thanks to the people of Australia for sacrificing with us in our shared fights against the menace of fascism, communism, and radical Islamic terrorism", Trump said in a statement at the Arrival Ceremony.

He also defended Mr Trump's golfing habits, saying, "You can never play too much golf".

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.

When it comes to state dinners, Trump seems to prefer being on the receiving end. Morrison said the world is a better place because of the United States and that the two nations "see the world through the same lens". Morrison will also be treated to lunch at the State Department.

It's only the second state dinner of Mr. Trump's presidency; the first was for French President Emmanuel Macron.



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