May 16, 2024 3 min read

 The former prime minister Scott Morrison says Donald Trump has been subject to a “pile-on” in the United States, in comments after meeting the American presidential candidate in New York.

Morrison said he and Trump discussed Aukus, the military agreement whereby the US and Britain will share nuclear-powered submarine technology with Australia, and Trump gave a “warm reception” to Morrison’s spruiking the deal.

It comes after concerns on both sides of the Pacific that Trump, if he were to win this year’s presidential election, may not proceed with the pact signed by election rival Joe Biden.

Morrison, who said he enjoyed a warm relationship with Trump when both were in office, met the Republican candidate at his home in New York City overnight. He posted on social media a photo with Trump, grinning and flashing a thumbs-up, in front of the famous gilded elevator inside Trump Tower where high-profile figures including the UK’s Nigel Farage have posed before.


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“Was pleased to meet with former President Donald Trump on Tuesday night at his private residence in NY. It was nice to catch up again, especially given the pile on he is currently dealing with in the US,” Morrison wrote on X.

Trump is currently facing a criminal trial over hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels. He also faces charges over his handling of classified documents, an election interference conspiracy case in Georgia, and federal criminal charges for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election loss.

Morrison earlier this year left parliament to join a defence company run by Mike Pompeo, Trump’s former secretary of state.

On X, Morrison said his meeting with Trump was “a good opportunity to discuss AUKUS, which received a warm reception”.

“We also discussed the continuing assertions of China in the Indo-Pacific and the threats against Taiwan. These were issues we discussed regularly when we were both in office,” he wrote.

“Once again, the former President showed his true appreciation of the value he places on the Australia-US alliance and the shared role of supporting what our friend, Shinzo Abe, called a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Morrison finished his message by writing: “Good to see you DJT and thanks for the invitation to stay in touch. All the best.”

Morrison told the ABC the meeting was a good opportunity to explain how Aukus fitted into the issues in the Indo-Pacific, “the contribution Australia makes as part of that, and the credible deterrent that’s necessary to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific”.

“Should he be elected, I mean, he will make his judgments when that time comes about.”

Morrison said Trump would “ensure” that both countries had sufficient nuclear-powered submarines.

“Aukus wasn’t about displacement of capability, it was about enhancement of capability across all three partners,” Morrison told the ABC.

“It was never my intention, when I put Aukus together, that this was about just moving submarines around. This was about having more submarines to do the job we wanted them to do. And I think the former president understands that.”

Morrison described Aukus as “the most important agreement we’ve had in place with the United States in 70 years”.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to have a good, friendly conversation with him, as someone who got on with him very well in office, and I’ve gotta say, I like where it’s going.”

Morrison told a Sydney radio station last week that he “got on well with Donald Trump” when both were in office. Trump was US president between 2016 and 2020, before losing to Biden; Morrison was Australian prime minister between 2019 and 2022.



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Morrison was feted by Trump with a state dinner at the White House in 2019. He also joined Trump at a campaign rally stop in Ohio on that visit. Trump at the time said Morrison backed “a lot of the same things” he did.

Asked about the Morrison-Trump meeting, the current prime minister Anthony Albanese said he wouldn’t comment on matters before the courts – in reference to Morrison’s claims of Trump experiencing a “pile on”.

“Scott Morrison is a former prime minister of Australia. I respect the office of prime minister,” Albanese told Radio National.

He said he hadn’t spoken to Morrison in recent times, and that “I will leave our diplomacy, funnily enough, to diplomatic endeavours”.

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