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

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