The Prime Minister Scott Morrison reportedly tried to secure an invitation for his mentor and Hillsong church leader Brian Houston to join him in the United States for the State visit.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal Houston was vetoed by the White House on account of Houston not being invited.
“Mr Morrison was determined to bring as part of his delegation Hillsong Church Pastor Brian Houston —the man he frequently refers to as his “mentor” —but the White House vetoed the idea” https://t.co/GTElOqWrHg
— Andrew Greene (@AndrewBGreene) September 20, 2019
Morrison’s is only the second State visit Trump has hosted in his presidency.
Brian Houston was censured by the Australian government’s royal commission into child sexual abuse for failing to report his father, Frank Houston, to police for the alleged sexual abuse of children in his church.
In a statement to The New Daily on Monday NSW Police confirmed that “Houston remains the subject of a probe over his handling of the sex crimes committed by his father, Frank Houston”.
Morrison, who is currently being hosted by US President Donald Trump in Washington, has dismissed the reports as ‘gossip‘.
When asked by reporters in Washington on Sunday whether that meant it wasn’t true Morrison didn’t budge.
‘Gossip’? Not quite the way the Wall Street Journal reports it.
— Anne Summers (@SummersAnne) September 22, 2019
“I don’t comment on gossip or stories about other stories,” he said. When asked if that meant it wasn’t true he replied ‘It means it’s gossip’.
He then said he’d answered the question.
NSW Police investigation continues into Hillsong preacher Brian Houston, the man Scott Morrison wanted to bring to the White House – according to WSJ report https://t.co/54jFd5YyPy
— 𝕤𝕒𝕞𝕒𝕟𝕥𝕙𝕒 𝕞𝕒𝕚𝕕𝕖𝕟 (@samanthamaiden) September 22, 2019
Houston denied that he was approached by Morrison.
“I have had no invitation to the White House and I have had no discussion with the Prime Minister or anyone else about this,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned this is baseless rumour and totally false news.”
According to The Wall Street Journal report, it was only after several rounds of discussions that Morrison agreed to leave Houston at home.