President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron, pose for photographs as they arrive for a State Dinner at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, April 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
WASHINGTON: There’s arguably nothing grander in the nation’s capital than a state dinner.
The red carpet gets rolled out, the silverware is shined, and the coveted guest list is winnowed down.
State dinners are intricate diplomatic dances filled with pageantry and symbolism – and they take months to plan. The world is watching and every choice from the china pattern to the flowers is scrutinized.
First lady Melania Trump carefully prepped for Tuesday night’s state dinner honoring French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, the first of the Trump administration and a big moment for a first lady who prefers to keep a low profile.
The president lavished praise on his wife in his toast, calling her “America’s absolutely incredible first lady.” He went on to hail the bonds between the United States and France, saying: “May our friendship grow even deeper, may our kinship grow even stronger and may our sacred liberty never die.”
With 123 attendees, the event was smaller and more intimate than President Barack Obama’s dinners. Among those attending were Vice President Mike Pence, Chief Justice John Roberts, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and two Winter Olympians, who flashed their gold medals on their way into the pre-dinner reception.
Guests at Trump’s table included Apple CEO Tim Cook and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the president’s nominee for secretary of state, as well as Macron and his wife.