From the left, French First Lady Brigitte Macron, French President Emmanuel Macron, President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at a State Dinner on April 24. (1
On an already symbolic evening, bearing the added impetus of Trump's push into official diplomatic branding, the first couple managed to celebrate the glittering party in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, without major disruptions , There were the big-bowed fat cats, the fine porcelain adorned with gold, the long red carpet, the thoughtful toasts. All in all it was a state dinner, but in and of itself that is something.
Do you remember the election campaign when the then candidate Trump denounced state dinner altogether? Speaking of "China and others" allegedly "tearing down" the United States, Trump said that the White House should "forget the state dinners, which by the way cost a fortune." Hamburger, who enjoys POTUS unabashedly, and a conference table was all the pomp and circumstance he needed, so the campaign bomast went to iron things.
My, how things have changed. A little grandeur is good for the look.
Ahead of Trump's debut as a diplomatic duo, much of Mrs. Trump's taste, her elegance, her "design background," her general elegance was made. The night was basically marketed as Melania's moment – a bit of an opportunity for the First Lady, who has reluctantly appeared in the role. She tweeted about the "months of preparation" her team had brought, and even posted a short behind-the-scenes video showing the East Wing at work. That was her chance to shine. You too?
Melania Trump, a former model, made her big appearance in Haute Couture Chanel in the Portico of the White House. The silver dress was hand painted and embroidered with crystals and sequins. The choice was not surprisingly high fashion (a black Givenchy Tuxedo cape and bespoke Hervé Pierre hat also made cameos during this visit) and Mrs. Trump seemed completely relaxed in the role she played Tuesday night.
The President Himself Made It A point to highlight the First Lady's efforts on his first toast.
"For America's absolutely incredible First Lady, thank you for making this evening an evening we'll always remember," said Trump in a toast that honored America and France's centuries-long friendship and encouraged the two countries "To work together every day to build a more just, prosperous and freer future".
When second lady Karen Pence was asked by the waiting press pool, as Mrs. Trump As First Lady, Vice President Pence responded for her: "Stunning," he said as the second couple made their way to the State Dining Room, a formal and intimate setting. So it seems that the First Lady earned a solid A-Plus for her first diplomatic trip.
The rest of the approximately 130 guests seemed to have taken more than anything else with the French.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La) said he plans to "thank the people of France for selling Louisiana to the United States."
When asked if she spoke French, the older daughter of President Ivanka Trump, special adviser of 45, replied "Oui, un petit peu." Translation: "Yes, a little bit."
Instagram's political favorite Louise Linton, who arrived with a Cavalli dress, and her husband, Finance Minister Steve Mnuchin, said they look forward to "All French."
Earlier in the evening, Attorney General Jerome Adams made a more serious note. He said he was excited to talk to the French president about the opioid epidemic. Okay, at least someone meant business. Adams & Mrs Lacey, however, was less diplomatic: "I want to see who's on the guest list." Not all.
The list was fairly normal for such events, mainly with White House officials, Cabinet members, the diplomatic corps, and a few startling faces.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo hurried past the press without answering any questions about his nomination as Foreign Minister. Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards was one of the few Democrats to make the cut. Apple boss Tim Cook brought the former EPA boss of the Obama administration and the current Apple environment director Lisa Jackson. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch arrived with his wife, former model Jerry Hall, who said she was looking forward to "seeing the French president." The managing president of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, is less enthusiastic. "This is my third French dinner," she said.
The most unexpected (and perhaps happiest) moment came when a seemingly unrecognizable couple arrived at the White House. (Do not worry, her last name was not Salahi.)
"Shall we stop?" The man asked while talking to the woman standing next to him. To help the press, "if you do not know who we are," the couple seemingly pulled two huge medals out of nowhere. Still nothing? Do you remember the Olympics in South Korea? What would have been a "total failure" without President Trump? These two – curlers John Shuster and hockey player Meghan Duggan – were there and won gold.
So you travel with them everywhere? "Pretty much," Shuster laughed, before finally walking down a giants-lined aisle sprays of nearly 1,200 cherry blossom branches to the state dining hall. The room was in cream and gold and dripped from the special style of the first couple. Tall spherical candles lit tables with heavy damask tablecloths draped in porcelain with a 24-carat gold engraved pattern laid by the then first-lady Hillary Clinton. Low-lying, densely packed pea and white lilac centerpieces adorned each table. Menu cards with a golden lily were an allusion to the guests of honor. The effect was understated but with a hint of this recognizable Trump flash.
The three-course meal – "a showcase of the best of American cuisine," after the East Wing – featured lamb loin served alongside Jambalaya, a traditional Louisiana plate with heavy French influences. Post's food critic Tom Sietsema described the main course as "a nice allusion to the American South." The wine paired with the dinner came from the West Coast and not from the president's own winery in central Virginia.
After dinner, the Washington National Opera entertained guests. Another big fan of the opera? Jacqueline Kennedy, one of the first ladies to admire Mrs. Trump (the other is Michelle Obama)
The night was a success for both the Trumps and the Macrons – two couples who, according to The Toast of the French President disturbed the establishment. "On both sides of the ocean," Macron said, "very few had bet two years ago that we're here together today, but we share the same determination and willingness."