Inside the lavish state dinner with Australia, the Trumps’ second such formal evening at the White House

Guests attend a state dinner hosted by US President Donald Trump for Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the Rose Garden of the White House on September 20, 2019.

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Guests attend a state dinner hosted by US President Donald Trump for Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the Rose Garden of the White House on September 20, 2019.
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REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

  • President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hosted their second state dinner on Friday night, in honor of the prime minister of Australia.
  • A bevy of DC heavyweights turned out for the event, including Cabinet members, diplomats, one Supreme Court justice, Fox News hosts, CEOs, lawmakers, and a couple minor celebrities.
  • The menu for the evening featured ravioli, summer vegetables, fish, and apple tart. Musical groups from the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force provided the entrainment.
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The White House Rose Garden was transformed for a formal gas lamp-lit dinner for about 200 people on Friday night.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump hosted their second state dinner, in honor of Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny. Their first was for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte in April 2018.

State dinners are time-honored traditions dictated by specific protocol. They always start with a formal greeting on the White House lawn, then a joint press conference, diplomatic meetings, and end with a lavish dinner for hundreds.

Here’s what the decor looked like, what was on the menu, and who attended the Trumps’ second state dinner.


The Trumps greeted the guests of honor, the Morrisons, at the North Portico of the White House. State dinners are meant to highlight diplomatic relations between the two countries, and each detail is selected to show that.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania Trump pose with Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny Morrison ahead of a state dinner at the White House in Washington, D.C. on September 20, 2019.
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REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

The dress code is formal black tie. The first lady was wearing a $6,000 aqua silk chiffon J. Mendel gown with “bias-cut wave ruffles.”

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U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. first lady Melania Trump greet Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny Morrison as they arrive for a state dinner at the White House in Washington, D.C. on September 20, 2019.
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REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Sources: Kate Bennett, White House Fashion


Members of the armed forces were on hand with flags and instruments to participate in the formal welcoming ceremonies, seen here in the Grand Foyer of the White House.

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US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump (R) pose with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (2nd L) and wife Jenny Morrison (L) for an Official Visit with a State Dinner in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, DC, September 20, 2019.
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ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

The guests started arriving for the evening. Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence wore matching black.


Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway attended the evening solo without her husband George Conway, who is a frequent critic of Trump. She was wearing a $798 black feather-embellished Mac Duggal gown.

Source: White House Fashion


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was there with his wife Virginia Thomas. He was the only SCOTUS justice to attend.


Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his wife Hilary Geary Ross arrived arm-in-arm.


Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife Nancy were there, too.

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Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (C) and his wife Nancy (R) arrive in the Booksellers area of the White House to attend a state dinner honoring Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in Washington, DC, on September 20, 2019.
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ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos arrived with her husband Richard. She wore a $5,500 Pamela Roland pearl-embroidered gown.

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, left, and husband Richard DeVos arrive for the State Dinner at The White House honoring Australian PM Morrison on September 20, 2019 in Washington, DC.
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Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Source: White House Fashion


Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller arrived arm-in-arm with Katie Waldman, VP Pence’s press secretary. The two are rumored to be dating.

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White House adviser Stephen Miller arrives with Katie Waldman for a State Dinner for Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the White House on September 20, 2019.
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REUTERS/Erin Scott

Source: Nick Miroff


Golfer Greg Norman and his wife Kirsten Kutner were in attendance. When a reporter asked about people criticizing how often Trump golfs, Norman said, “Nobody can golf too much.”

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Golfer Greg Norman (R) and wife Kirsten Kutner arrive for the State Dinner at The White House honoring Australian PM Morrison on September 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the Australian leader with an arrival ceremony and joint press conference earlier in the day.
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Paul Morigi/Getty Images

US Attorney General William Barr and his wife Christine smiled for the cameras.

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US Attorney General William Barr (R) and Christine Barr arrive for the State Dinner at The White House honoring Australian PM Morrison on September 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. Trump hosted the Australian leader with an arrival ceremony and joint press conference earlier in the day.
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Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, attended the state dinner with date Maria Ryan. He is currently in the middle of a messy divorce with his third wife.

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (L) and Maria Ryan arrive in the Booksellers area of the White House to attend an Official Visit with a State Dinner honoring Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in Washington, DC, on September 20, 2019.
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ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times


Other notable attendees included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Australian chef Curtis Stone, Fox News hosts Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo, CEO of Fox Corporation Lachlan Murdoch, and Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy.

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US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (C) walks towards the Booksellers area of the White House prior to a state dinner honoring Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in Washington, DC, on September 20, 2019.
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ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images

Once everyone was gathered in the Rose Garden, Trump and Morrison both gave toasts highlighting the US and Australia’s 101-year relationship, and the guests tucked into dinner.

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US President Donald Trump speaks alongside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during an Official Visit with a State Dinner at the White House in Washington, DC, September 20, 2019.
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ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

The menu for the evening featured ravioli, summer vegetables, fish, and apple tart.

Full Menu First Course Sunchoke Ravioli Reggiano Cream Shaved Summer Vegetables Main Course Dover Sole with Parsley Crisps Zucchini Squash Blossoms Fennel Mousseline Baby Garlic Rouille Dessert Lady Apple Tart Calvados Ice Cream

Wines

Spring Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Argyle Pinot Noir “Reserve” 2016

J Demi-Sec NV


This is only the second state dinner held in the Rose Garden. Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted one for Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and her husband in 2011.

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A table is set with floral arrangements and place settings for the Trump administration’s state dinner with Australia on Friday in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 19, 2019.
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REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Musical groups from the US Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force provided the entrainment, which the first lady’s office said was the largest gathering of military musicians in White House history.

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A band plays as U.S. President Donald Trump, U.S. first lady Melania Trump, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny Morrison arrive for a state dinner in the Rose Garden of the White House on September 20, 2019.
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REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

With the temperature around 69 degrees Fahrenheit, it looked like a lovely evening for a state dinner in the White House Rose Garden.

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US President Donald Trump speaks alongside Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during an Official Visit with a State Dinner at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, September 20, 2019.
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ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images