POLITICS

Malcolm Turnbull Isn't Sure What Gift To Give Donald Trump

Nothing like leaving your present-buying to the last minute.

03/05/2017 11:58 AM AEST | Updated 03/05/2017 4:34 PM AEST

Malcolm Turnbull is gearing up to meet U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time this week, and he's hoping to make a good impression after their relationship got off to a, well, slightly rocky start.

Turnbull was reportedly eviscerated on a February phone call with Trump, according to reports in the Washington Post, with the new president taking the Prime Minister to task over the Obama administration's agreement to settle an unspecified number of refugees from Nauru and Manus Island.

Trump called it "the worst deal ever" and "dumb", but efforts were made on both sides of the Pacific to smooth over diplomatic relations following leaked details of the call.

Now, Turnbull will be hoping he can charm his way back into Trump's good books when the two leaders meet in person for the first time -- and the PM is not coming empty-handed.

"Will you take a present?" asked Sunrise host David Koch, during an interview with Turnbull on Wednesday morning.

"A tea towel or something?"

"A mulga wood ashtray, perhaps?" Turnbull mused, before quickly adding "they are out of date, nobody smokes these days."

"I am sure we will exchange courtesies. We are not required to bring big gifts, but we will have something."

Turnbull told Koch reports about the February call were "exaggerated" and "inaccurate", claiming "it was a frank and courteous phone call".

There's been a fine tradition of Aussie leaders coming to the U.S. bearing particularly thoughtful gifts, so maybe the PM will need to do more than just pick up a cheap souvenir ashtray at duty-free on the way through the airport.

Tony Abbott presented Barack Obama with a surfboard designed to look like Air Force One. When Julia Gillard met Obama, she came brandishing an iPod full of Australian music including the Hilltop Hoods and Eddy Current Suppression Ring, a Sherrin football and a Western Bulldogs AFL jersey.

White House / Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama practices passing a football with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in the Oval Office in 2011

In 2003, when John Howard was visiting George W. Bush on his Texan ranch, Howard presented the then-President with an Akubra hat and an Australian stockwhip.

Turnbull said he was "delighted" to be meeting Trump, saying it was an opportunity to reaffirm the alliance. The meeting will take place on May 4 on USS Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier, during commemorations for the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

"We will talk about the wide range of security and economic issues, the top of the list at the moment is North Korea and the situation in the Middle East," Turnbull said on Sunrise.

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