Big personalities in fashion, entertainment, politics, and industry attended the first White House state dinner of President Joe Biden’s administration to honour French President Emmanuel Macron and the resumption of high-wattage DC social events after the pandemic.
Democratic governors John Bel Edwards of Louisiana and John Carney of Delaware, who represents Biden’s home state, were the first to arrive.
Julia Louis-Dreyfus sped by the media, pausing only to confirm that she had attended a state dinner before and that it was an amazing experience. As visitors entered the White House and left for a sweltering party tent on the South Lawn, late-night TV presenter Stephen Colbert also arrived.
The Biden family was invited as well, including his sister Valerie Biden and his adult children Hunter and Ashley.
The official guest list also has actors Jennifer Garner and Ariana DeBose, artist John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen, as well as Good Morning America presenter Robin Roberts.
Along with House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who aspires to succeed outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, they were both anticipated. There were more than 300 expected visitors, including shoe designer Christian Louboutin and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the first Republican to show up; she chuckled when told she was the first Republican to show up and said, “I’m sure there will be more.”
Before Tuesday’s runoff Senate election in Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is running for reelection, former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms stopped to talk a little shop and said, “I think it’s going to be a great night for Georgia on Tuesday… just gotta make sure people continue to turn out.”
Hostess Jill Biden invited her French counterpart and colleague teacher to a language museum earlier in the day to highlight their shared love for studying and their developing relationship. The tent was ready and the tables were prepared for the big supper.
As she and Biden shook hands at Planet Word, a museum devoted to words and language, Brigitte Macron declared, “We are friends.
Biden reaffirmed their friendship before they did, “We are pals.”
The statement of friendship was appropriate for the situation. The United States only invites its closest friends, including France, one of its oldest allies, to a state dinner, which is a great diplomatic honour.
While their men attended meetings at the White House, the ladies visited a museum. Brigitte Macron is a former professor of French literature and theater, and Jill Biden is still an English and writing instructor at a community college in Virginia.
As the sun set, the invited guests started filtering into the White House, dressed to impress and eager to declare that they had a little role in history by attending the first state dinner given by the Bidens.
The menu for the red, white, and blue-themed meal included beef with shallot marmalade, butter-poached Maine lobster, and American cheeses. Orange chiffon cake, roasted pears, and crme fraiche ice cream are served for dessert. For the toasts, American sparkling wine will be provided.
Because place settings from the White House china collection cannot be taken out of the executive mansion, guests will eat on rented tableware.
According to Jill Biden on Wednesday, the theme of this event was inspired by the shared colors of our flags, red, white, and blue, as well as by our shared beliefs in liberty, democracy, equality, and camaraderie. These serve as the foundation for our strong connection.
On the South Lawn, a heated tent is hosting the glam celebration of French-American friendship. Visitors arrived at the White House on trolleys and were placed at a variety of square and rectangular tables with red candles, white irises, the official flower of France, and dark blue silk tablecloths.
Jon Batiste, a Grammy Award-winning New Orleans native who most recently served as the bandleader and musical director of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, entertained guests after dinner. On Thursday, Batiste tweeted about his function.
Since September 2019, the White House has not hosted a state dinner, in large part because of the COVID-19 epidemic, which made big-scale events difficult.
But entertaining is back at the White House.
Following the 250-person wedding of Biden’s granddaughter on the South Lawn last month, Thursday’s supper will be held. And thousands more people will visit the White House in December, including visitors and guests of the almost a month’s worth of Christmas parties.
200 live Maine lobsters, according to White House chief chef Cristeta Comerford, were delivered on Tuesday. Some environmental organizations are criticizing the White House for eating lobster from Maine, citing worries that the fishing gear used to catch lobsters poses harm to endangered North Atlantic right whales. Being trapped in gear is one of the major threats to whales.
Concerns about the environment were not immediately addressed by the White House.