Bidens host 1st state dinner honoring French President Macron

Biden toasted “the history that unites us and the values ​​that still unite us, and the future we will create together.”

WASHINGTON — The first state dinner at the White House under President Joe Biden’s administration drew big names on Thursday from fashion, entertainment, politics and business, who helped celebrate. French President Emmanuel Macron and the return of major social events after the pandemic.

There were kisses all around as the Bidens stepped out into North Portico to greet the Macrons – Jill Biden in an Oscar de la Renta navy off-the-shoulder gown, Brigitte Macron in an ivory high-neck Louis Vuitton gown .

Jill Biden’s open invitation as the quartet enters: “Enjoy the evening.”

Other guests snuck in through a side entrance, apparently wanting to do just that. First to arrive: Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, followed shortly by Governor John Carney, from Delaware, Biden’s home state.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus flips through the press, only stopping to say, yes, she’s been to a state dinner party before and it’s all “very enjoyable.” Late-night TV host Stephen Colbert said nothing as guests walked past the holiday-decorated White House and onto trolleys to make their way down the South Lawn to the hot party tent.

Shoe designer Christian Louboutin – wearing a crystal bolo tie – said “I don’t know” when asked how many women could wear his red-soled shoes for the night and wouldn’t risk guessing. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was also among the 338 names on the guest list.

The Biden family also made the list: The grown children, Hunter and Ashley, and sister Valerie Biden.

Others in attendance: “Good Morning America” ​​host Robin Roberts, actor Jennifer Garner, singer John Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, Navajo National President Jonathan Nez and Ada Limon, poet laureate United States award. Garner is among those who wear velvet, a popular choice on a night when the temperature drops below 30 degrees Celsius.

Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was there, as was House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy of California, who hopes to succeed Pelosi. She gets to sit at the front table with the Bidens and the Macrons; McCarthy doesn’t.

Asked how he felt about attending dinner with Hunter Biden, whom Republicans are looking to investigate when they took control of the House in January, McCarthy said: “I’m having dinner with my mom and I’m going have a wonderful time. .”

Other legislators were excited to introduce family members to accompany them. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Del., who wore a royal blue one-shoulder gown and black elbow-length gloves, brought her niece, Hannah Carter, who told her aunt himself that the incident “feels like Bridgerton,” referring to the Netflix romance series.

Before the late dinner, Biden toasted “the history that unites us and the values ​​that still unite us and the future we will create together. Vive la France and God Bless America.”

“I really hope you had a great dinner,” Macron joked as he toasted “Dear Joe.” Guests, many of them supposedly hungry, laughed.

“Tonight we are not only honored and moved, but also feel the importance of this moment,” Macron said. It means a lot to all of us, because this is our history.”

Former Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms stopped by to speak ahead of Tuesday’s Senate elections in Georgia, where Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock is seeking re-election. “I think it’s going to be a great night for Georgia on Tuesday… just make sure people keep showing up.”

With the tent ready and the tables set for a sumptuous dinner, hostess Jill Biden on Thursday earlier took her French counterpart to a language museum to highlight the relationship their shared interest in learning and their growing friendship.

“We are friends,” said Brigitte Macron as she and Biden held hands at Planet Word. “We’re friends,” Biden repeated.

Declaration of friendship is appropriate for the occasion. The State Dinner is a highly diplomatic honor, one that the United States grants only to its closest allies — like France, one of the United States’ oldest nations.

Guests began flooding into the White House as the sun went down, dressed to impress and eager to be told they played a small role in history — the first state dinner hosted by the Bidens.

Many prominent businessmen attended, including French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault, film magnate and investor Jeffrey Katzenberg, private equity legend Henry Kravis and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna.

The guest list also features a dense presence of major Democratic Party donors, who have helped the party perform better than expected in the midterm elections. Among them, Katzenberg, a man with a lot of money in Hollywood; Avram Glazer, who in recent years has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic causes; and Alexander Soros, son of George Soros and vice president of the Soros’ Open Society.

Butter-boiled Maine lobster, beef with shallot jam, and American cheese are on the menu for the red-white-blue themed dinner. Dessert was an orange chiffon with baked pear and crème fraiche. American sparkling wine is served to toast.

Guests dine on rented tableware as venue settings from the White House porcelain collection are not permitted outside the executive residence. They are sitting at square and rectangular tables paired with dark blue silk scarves, red candles and red, white and blue flowers, including the white iris, the official flower of France.

Jon Batiste, a Grammy Award-winning New Orleans native and former bandleader and music director of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” provided the after-dinner entertainment.

“There’s going to be a fire,” Batiste promised before his performance.

Before taking the stage, Jill Biden invited Cris Comerford, the White House executive chef, and Susie Morrison, the White House pastry chef, for recognition for the meal.

The White House has not held a state dinner since September 2019, largely because the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered mass gatherings.

But entertainment is back at the White House.

Thursday’s dinner came after Biden’s niece’s wedding last month on the South Lawn with 250 guests. And tens of thousands of people will flock to the White House this month, including tourists and others invited to the nearly monthlong reception. Bidens host 1st state dinner honoring French President Macron

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