TRUMP TO SCO-MO:
THE last time Donald Trump met an Australian prime minister in 2018 he was named Malcolm.
On Friday afternoon local time in Buenos Aires, Scott Morrison met the US president and took him through how he came to replace Mr Turnbull.
“They have their inquiries, and when you describe the parliamentary system, it’s a foreign system to the presidential system,” Mr Morrison told reporters after meeting with Mr Trump at the G20.
Mr Morrison said he took Mr Trump through the pro- cess of how Mr Turnbull was replaced and how he became prime minister in August.
“We just ran through what the events were,” Mr Morrison said.
Mr Turnbull visited the White House in February, posing for smiling pictures with Mr Trump and successfully pressing him to exempt Australian steel from tariff hikes.
He was famously called Malcolm Trumbull by then White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
During yesterday’s visit, Mr Trump said Mr Morrison was doing a “fantastic job” in his short time as prime minister because he’s getting things done that people want done. The prime minister spoke to the US president at the G20 meeting ahead of a key meeting between Mr Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Just getting to know each other and so far so good, I think it’s going to be a great relationship,” Mr Trump said in the meeting.
“I know you’ve done a fantastic job in a very short period of time.
“You’ve done a lot of the things that they’ve wanted over there and that’s why you’re sitting right here.”
The escalating China-US trade war is overshadowing the meeting of the world’s key leaders, but Mr Morrison said the US is pursuing a clear course ahead of its meeting with China on Saturday night local time.
“Whether they come to an agreement tomorrow, really only they can discern that,” Mr Morrison told reporters after he met Mr Trump.
“But ... the suggestion that the path the United States is pursuing has a protectionist motivation, I think is false.”
The US has been pushing China hard on intellectual property theft, and World Trade Organisation rules that still give China developing nation status.
As part of his negotiating tactics, Mr Trump has slapped hundreds of billions of dollars of tariffs on Chinese goods, sparking similar tariffs in response.
“In the past they’ve sought to take a fairly orthodox approach ... what we’ve seen more recently you wouldn’t describe as orthodox, but that doesn’t mean the objective isn’t the same,” Mr Morrison said.
The G20 started with a group photo and a warm handshake between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who is accused of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Mr Morrison told a group meeting of the leaders that Australia’s economic success was built on multilateral, open trade.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison greets US President Donald Trump yesterday during the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina Picture: AAP