WASHINGTON – There was the same old pomp and pageantry afforded to a visiting head of state, together with an elaborate welcome ceremony on the White Home South Garden and a proper, black-tie dinner that lasted late into the evening.
However Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s state visit to Washington on Wednesday additionally got here in opposition to the backdrop of conflict in the Middle East, the place 1000’s have died within the two weeks since Israel and Hamas went to warfare following the Palestinian militant group’s shock assault on southern Israel on Oct. 7.
President Joe Biden and Albanese carried on with all of the formalities surrounding the visit. However a number of occasions all through the day, the 2 leaders mirrored on the occasions within the Center East as they celebrated the historic friendship and ties between their very own nations.
Listed here are some memorable moments from the Australian prime minister’s visit:
A red-carpet welcome for Albanese
The president and first woman handled Albanese and his companion, Jodie Haydon, to a red-carpet welcome on a cold fall morning in entrance of 4,000 invited visitors crammed onto the White Home South Garden.
The 2 leaders strolled alongside the White Home grounds to assessment the navy honor guard earlier than climbing onto a stage to observe the formal ceremony. A drum and fife corps paraded throughout the well-manicured garden. A band performed the nationwide anthems of each nations.
The ceremony was a make-up second of types. Biden invited Albanese to pay an official state visit to Washington – the best diplomatic honor provided to U.S. allies – after canceling a trip to Australia and Papua New Guinea in Might due to ongoing debt ceiling negotiations with Congress.
Albanese arrived late Sunday and visited Arlington Nationwide Cemetery on Monday to commemorate the Individuals and Australians who’ve fought alongside one another through the years.
In his remarks on the White Home ceremony, Biden paid tribute to the longstanding alliance between the 2 nations whereas Albanese mentioned the nations are sure by perception that “freedom, peace and equality” aren’t simply American or Australian beliefs.
Turning to occasions within the Center East and Russia’s warfare in opposition to Ukraine, Biden mentioned the U.S. and Australia are “standing with Israel in opposition to Hamas terrorism and “standing with Ukraine in opposition to (Vladimir) Putin’s tyranny.” Albanese condemned Hamas for “atrocities,” “terror” and “brutality.”
A stark warning for Iran
After the arrival ceremony, Biden and Albanese huddled within the Oval Workplace, the place they had been anticipated to debate the Indo-Pacific, joint cooperation on science and know-how and their nations’ help for Ukraine and Israel.
Later, throughout a joint Rose Backyard information convention, Biden mentioned he had issued a stark warning to Iran’s ayatollah that the U.S. would reply if Tehran tries to hurt American troops within the area.
At the very least two dozen U.S. navy personnel have been injured in drone and rocket assaults on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria since Hamas’ assault on Israel this month. The U.S. has deployed two plane provider strike teams to the area to discourage hostile actors from placing.
“My warning to the ayatollah,” Biden mentioned, “was that in the event that they continued to maneuver in opposition to these troops, we’ll reply, and he must be ready.”
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A split-screen second for Biden, new Home speaker
Whereas Biden was talking from the Rose Backyard, over on the U.S. Capitol, a few miles down Pennsylvania Avenue, Home Republicans had been voting to raise Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana as the new House speaker.
The vote was wrapping up simply as Biden’s information convention was starting, offering a dramatic split-screen second and ending a chaotic 22-day stalemate triggered by the GOP’s ouster of Johnson’s predecessor, Kevin McCarthy. McCarthy’s removing left the speaker’s chair vacant for over three weeks and brought about congressional enterprise to grind to a halt.
Johnson helped recruit Home Republicans to signal a authorized temporary in search of to overturn the outcomes of the 2020 election, when Biden defeated Republican Donald Trump. Requested if he was worried Johnson would try again to overturn the election if he wins in 2024, Biden mentioned he was not, including, “I do know the Structure.”
The White Home mentioned Biden later referred to as Johnson to supply congratulations and say he appears ahead to working collectively to search out widespread floor.
Present change: What did Biden give to Albanese?
When international leaders come calling, customized dictates an change of official items.
At a non-public dinner Tuesday night, Biden and the primary woman offered Albanese with an vintage writing desk, designed in 1886 by an American furnishings firm in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The desk’s facet panel was to incorporate an inscription in gold to commemorate the official visit. Biden additionally gave the prime minister – a music buff – a customized signature turntable from a family-owned American audio producer.
Jill Biden offered Haydon with a inexperienced enamel and diamond petite necklace designed and hand-crafted by an American jeweler.
Albanese and Haydon gave every of the Bidens work by Australian artists, whereas Jill Biden additionally acquired a silk scarf and a silver leaf brooch.
A toast to ‘mateship’ and the longer term
The grand finale for any state visit is the official state dinner, a black-tie affair that attracts a curious mixture of celebrities (actor John Leguizamo, violinist Itzhak Perlman, Australian rapper Child Laroi) and political powerbrokers (Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, Transportation Secretary Pete Buittigieg, U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy).
Some 400 visitors at Wednesday night’s soiree gathered inside a pavilion arrange on the South Garden, the place they dined on farro and roasted beet salad, butternut squash soup, sarsaparilla-braised quick ribs and sorghum-glazed younger carrots. For dessert, there was crème fraîche ice cream and hazelnut and chocolate mousse cake.
Biden raised a crystal wine glass and toasted his visitor of honor and “our partnership, our mateship and the longer term we’ll create collectively.”
Albanese mentioned he has only one remorse: He’s undecided he’ll find a way prime the night on his future date nights with Haydon, he mentioned.
Sorry, mate, however no ‘Love Shack’
The White Home initially selected the brand new wave band The B-52s to offer the evening’s leisure however modified course on the final minute.
The evening earlier than the dinner, Jill Biden introduced “a couple of changes” to the leisure portion of the night. Rocking out on the South Garden can be inappropriate at a time when “so many are dealing with sorrow and ache,” she mentioned, with out referring explicitly to the warfare within the Center East.
So as an alternative of dancing the evening away to tunes like “Love Shack” and “Rock Lobster,” visitors had been serenaded with instrumental music by the Marine band and the Military and Air Drive Strolling Strings.
The B-52s weren’t shut out fully. The ultra-fab band’s members nonetheless bought to come back to the dinner as visitors.
Michael Collins covers the White Home. Observe him on Twitter @mcollinsNEWS.
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Contributing: Joey Garrison and Francesca Chambers
This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: Memorable moments from Australian prime minister’s state visit