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Donald Trump, Malcolm Turnbull meet after initial delay, President says reported testy relationship 'fake news'

ABC News logo ABC News 5/05/2017

Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull © AP Image Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull

United States President Donald Trump has declared his reported testy phone call with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull earlier this year was a "little bit of fake news" as the pair met in New York City this morning.

The meeting happened a few hours late after Mr Trump postponed it to remain in Washington while a bill to replace Obamacare passed the House of Representatives.

He then held a lengthy celebratory press conference at the White House before boarding Air Force One and flying to New York.

The President was due to meet Mr Turnbull at a Manhattan hotel but instead they held a shorter, 30-minute meeting onboard the USS Intrepid, a museum on the Hudson River.

"He's got some other things he wants to take care of before he leaves town, and so it's nothing more than that," deputy White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said earlier.

"I don't want to get ahead of their visit, but I think that you can expect a strengthening out of an already strong ally, and furthered continued great relationship that we have with them."

Mr Turnbull and Mr Trump were due to speak at a gala dinner commemorating the 75th anniversary of the battle of the Coral Sea at the museum.

It is the first time time the pair have met since a testy phone call over a refugee deal between the two nations struck by the Turnbull Government and the Obama administration.

Earlier in the day Mr Turnbull met with the Commander of the US Pacific Command Harry Harris for talks about North Korea's nuclear missile program and other security issues.

The Prime Minister also toured the NYPD Counter-Terrorism Joint Operations Centre in downtown Manhattan.

The passage of the bill to repeal Obamacare is a big win for Mr Trump and congressional Republicans, although it still faces a tough fight in the Senate.

During the White House press conference Mr Trump invited those who helped it pass to speak at the podium.

"We're going to let some of the other folks just come up and say whatever you want," he said to the scores of Republican members of Congress standing behind him in the Rose Garden.

"We want to brag about the plan," he said.

Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull © Twitter Donald Trump and Malcolm Turnbull

Mr Trump has arrived in New York and was due to meet Mr Turnbull at 7:15pm local time (9:15am AEST).

The original meeting was scheduled for 4:20pm.

Former ambassador to the US Kim Beazley said the delay could work in Australia's favour.

Mr Beazley said the distance between New York and Washington could be logistically difficult and the healthcare bill was a "reasonably good" excuse.

He also said it could make the President much warmer during the meeting.

"I think it probably puts Trump somewhat on the back foot in dealing with Turnbull, so it may make him a much more amenable dialogue partner when he finally turns up," he said.

It is Mr Trump's first trip back to his home city since taking office more than three months ago.

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