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

Rebecca Harrington
white house rose garden state dinner australia

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 Business 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.

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."

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.

ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

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

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

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.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Source: White House Fashion



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

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

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

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

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

ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images

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

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.

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."

Paul Morigi/Getty Images

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

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.

ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images

Source: The New York Times



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

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.

ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images

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

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

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.

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.

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.

ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images