Australia

Trump’s award for ScoMo

Donald Trump has awarded Scott Morrison an honour for “leadership in addressing global challenges” a month before he leaves office.The outgoing US president has awarded Mr Morrison the Legion of Merit, a prestigious military award bestowed to national leaders. Ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos was in Washington DC to accept the award on the…

Donald Trump has awarded Scott Morrison an honour for “leadership in addressing global challenges” a month before he leaves office.

The outgoing US president has awarded Mr Morrison the Legion of Merit, a prestigious military award bestowed to national leaders. Ambassador to the US Arthur Sinodinos was in Washington DC to accept the award on the prime minister’s behalf.

Mr Morrison was one of three leaders to receive the award after striking up a close relationship with Mr Trump, alongside former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and Indian leader Narendra Modi.

The honour comes despite Mr Morrison recognising Joe Biden as the winner of the November election. Mr Trump continues to claim, without evidence, widespread voter fraud.

A tweet from the US National Security Committee said the award was “for his leadership in addressing global challenges and promoting collective security”.

In September last year, Mr Morrison became the first Australian leader to receive a state dinner from a US president since George W Bush hosted John Howard in 2006.

Mr Trump also heaped praise on Mr Morrison when the pair held a rally in Ohio, lauding him for his shock election victory.

“It was supposed to be close and he blew them away … He is a great gentleman and they love him in Australia and they now love him in the United States of America too,” he told the 1500 people in attendance.

“I want to thank Prime Minister Morrison for being my friend. He’s been a great friend to the United States of America. He’s a great man and a great leader,” he said

Mr Morrison faced criticism for attending at the event, which closely resembled a Trump campaign rally. Prime ministers typically avoid events viewed as partisan during overseas trips.

The Aussie leader enjoyed a closer relationship with Mr Trump than predecessor Malcolm Turnbull, who had a heated phone call with the President in 2017 over a refugee swap deal arranged under former president Barack Obama.

Mr Turnbull accused his successor in November of pandering to the US president, saying the inauguration of Joe Biden would force Mr Morrison to shift to the centre on issues such as climate change.

“He probably over-channelled Trump. He was clearly dazzled by Trump and went full-in with that in a number of areas. All the talk about being against globalism and so forth was channelling ‘the Donald’,” he said.

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