Trump Awards Legion of Merit to Morrison, Modi, Abe

December 22, 2020 Updated: December 22, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump has awarded the prestigious Legion of Merit to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and fellow leaders of the Quad Alliance for “addressing global challenges and promoting collective security.”

On Dec. 21, U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien presented the award to Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Arthur Sinodinos, who accepted on Morrison’s behalf.

The National Security Council wrote on Twitter:

“President @realDonaldTrump awarded the Legion of Merit to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his leadership in addressing global challenges and promoting collective security. Ambassador @A_Sinodinos accepted the medal on behalf of PM Morrison.”

The Legion of Merit is given for meritorious conduct in the performance of incredible service and achievement, and can be issued to military and political figures of foreign governments. Former Prime Minister Robert Menzies, Australia’s longest-serving prime minister, was a recipient.

Recently retired Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also were awarded the medal at the ceremony. Their respective ambassadors were on hand to receive the honors.

Together, the recipients comprise the nations of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, which was formalized this year to strengthen multilateral security ties across the Indo-Pacific region and to counter communist China’s ambitions in the region.

The Quad agreement was conceived in 2007 by Abe, but experienced ebbs and flows before being revitalized by the Trump administration in 2017.

The forum is aimed at laying the groundwork for an “arc of democracy” across the region, which currently lacks an institution with the geopolitical weight of NATO or the European Union.