The art of dining with Donald

 

PRIME Minister Scott Morrison is to be honoured with a state dinner at the white house on Friday night ­­­- and make no mistake, it is quite the feather in Morrison's cap (or bucket hat, as befits the father of Australia).

It's also Donald Trump making sure Australia is in the United States' corner in the looming South China Sea stoush, but no matter.

The point is that the Don does not host these events willy nilly. Oh no, this is no golf, cocktails and watching highly sensitive North Korean missile tests on the terrace at Mar - a - Lago in full view of the public, no Sir.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison with President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, on Sunday, August 25, 2019. Picture: Adam Taylor/PMO
Prime Minister Scott Morrison with President Donald Trump at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, on Sunday, August 25, 2019. Picture: Adam Taylor/PMO

A White House state dinner is instead considered to be the highest accolade given to a foreign dignitary during a visit, and not one given often.

Indeed the only other recipient since Trump moved into the White House has been the French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018.

More notably, the White House has not hosted a State Dinner for an Australian Prime Minister since 2006.

That is when George W and Laura Bush sat down with John and Janine Howard for some house cured duck prosciutto, pan roasted barramundi and toasted coconut-lime vinaigrette, with a little tipple of the Greg Norman Chardonnay "Santa Barbara". That's from the real menu by the way, so important are these state dinners, every single one is chronicled on the White House website.

The White House has not hosted a State Dinner for an Australian Prime Minister since 2006.
The White House has not hosted a State Dinner for an Australian Prime Minister since 2006.

So the Morrison dinner is, as Trump himself would say "a big deal", beginning begin with a 21 gun salute and the Morrison's greeted by the Trumps from the White House's historic North Portico.

Then, they will all move inside, where the Trumps will give the Australian Prime Minister and his spouse a private tour of the Yellow Oval room, and they will all enjoy some pre-dinner aperitifs.

Then the foursome will descend down the grand staircase into the state dining room, where Morrison will immediately declare to the assembled dignitaries: "How good is the White House!"

Now, if the conversation during the private tour is leaked, as so many of Trumps conversations are, I imagine it will go a little like this ….

Morrison: Thank you for inviting us into your beautiful home Mr. President.

Trump: Well, it's a lot bigger than yours is, that's for sure.

Morrison: Laughs uncomfortably

Trump: I'm kidding, I'm kidding. You're very welcome. I like you. You're a high quality person. Not like that last guy, what was his name, Turnbull? What a loser. I hung up on him, you know.

Morrison: Laughs uncomfortably.

Trump: So, how are things going down under? I love going down under, you know what I mean, Sean?

Morrison: Laughs uncomfortably. "It's Scott, actually".

Trump: OK, Scott, anyway, I love down under and they love me down under too. They really do. I get letters from Australia all the time saying they wish I was their President instead of you. No offence. They just love me so much. If I visited Australia there would be, like, so many people who would want to come out and see me. So many people. I would get a crowd of, like, 30 million people.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Morrison: "Actually, President Trump we only have a population of around 25 million".

Trump: "Okay, Sean, if you say so. Anyway I love Aussies, and they love me. Actually, I've just had a great idea. I should buy you guys!"

Morrison: "What?"

Trump: "I should buy Australia. I wanted to buy Greenland but they said no, the losers. Anyway how much do you want for it?

Morrison: "It's not for sale, Mr President"

Trump: "Like I said in my biggest selling book of all time "The Art of the Deal", everything is for sale, so how much do you want for Australia?''

Morrison: Laughs uncomfortably.

Trump: "OK, no deal, but you let me know. I like you, Scott, you're a high quality person, like Kim Jong. You know Kim Jong? Good guy, great guy, they love me in his country too. Hey you want a signed copy of my book, The Art of the Deal? Melania, go get a copy of my book for Sean here …"

frances.whiting@news.com.au



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