January 28, 2023

Biden welcomes Macron to state dinner

WASHINGTON — More than a year after fighting in submarines, President Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron honored their alliance with lobster and cheese.

As celebrities joined politicians, business leaders and major donors to honor America’s oldest ally at the White House, Mr. Biden’s first official state dinner of the presidency marked the latest step in the post-pandemic return to normality.

“Vive la France and God bless America,” said Mr. Biden said at his toast, as about 300 guests clinked glasses.

Mr. Macron also raised his glass and said, “We come from the same values, principles.”

“Long live America, long live France, long live the friendship between our two countries,” the French president said.

The evening began with Biden and Macron following members of the military up the White House Grand Staircase before taking photos and heading to dinner under a tented pavilion on the South Lawn. Jill Biden, the first lady, wore an off-the-shoulder dress by Oscar de la Renta, while Brigitte Macron wore an ivory Louis Vuitton gown with a high neck.

Guests walked through the White House hallways, which are usually used to sell books, as photographers and reporters asked questions.

Grammy Award-winning musician and composer John Bautista, Mr. Biden and Mr. He said his performance for Macron would be “fiery”. The writer who is fighting cancer Mr. “This is my first time in a year,” said Batist’s wife, Shulaika Javad.

Academy Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose, activist and owner of comedy studio Funny or Die, Henry R. Munoz said he “couldn’t be more excited” to come to the White House with III. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus admitted it was “very exciting” to be back in the White House, though she didn’t respond when asked if it was similar to her political satire “Veep.”

Apple chief executive Tim Cook lets slip that his conversation with Elon Musk this week was “very good.” Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour admired the style of a reporter.

Domestic politics were kept under wraps. Representative Steve Scalise, Republican of Louisiana, smiled as Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the majority leader, pulled up a makeshift red carpet to show off his French-speaking skills to reporters.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, a potential speaker when Republicans take control of the House in January, Mr. He allowed that there were areas of compromise with Biden. But when Republicans gain a majority, Mr. When asked what it would be like to dine with Biden’s son Hunter, he demurred.

“Well, I’m having dinner with my mom, so we’re going to have a great time,” said Mr. McCarthy replied.

And then there was the food. Macarons were treated to caviar; An American cheese course, including Oregon-based Rogue River Blue, winner of the 2019-20 World Cheese Awards; and butter-poached Maine lobster.

Crustaceans are somewhat controversial. On Monday, Whole Foods said it plans to stop buying lobster from the state, citing concerns from environmental groups that say endangered North Atlantic right whales are entangled in fishing gear.

Chrisetta Comerford, the White House executive chef who designed the menu, praised the Maine lobster workers.

The first lady’s office, which is responsible for planning the dinner, said the event’s theme was red, white and blue — “inspired by the shared colors of our flags.”

The White House placed red roses and blue delphiniums on each table during the dinner, along with white irises, the official flower of France, to represent the countries’ shared colors. While the squashes for the meal were taken from the White House garden, the plates were rented out. (Official White House china is not allowed to leave the building to prevent damage.)

Throughout much of Thursday’s official visit, Mr. Biden and Mr. As Macron discussed the Ukraine war and economic conflict, the two world leaders enjoyed one of the White House’s most glamorous traditions.

Before coming, Mr. Mr. Biden has a custom vinyl record collection of great American musicians and an archival facsimile print of Thomas Edison’s 1877 American phonograph patent. Mr. Macron Mr. He also gave Biden a vinyl and the original soundtrack to “Un Homme et Une Femme,” which the Bidens watched on their first date.

Mr. For Biden, Mr. Relations between him and Macron have never been so happy.

A year ago, A Trans-Atlantic Protests Mr. When Biden reached a deal that threatened to sour U.S.-French relations, it scrapped an earlier French deal to supply conventional submarines.

Mr. Biden later said the administration was “clumsy” in how it handled the deal, and then Mr. He also said that he had met Macron on several occasions.

None of those tensions were on display Thursday.

Mr. In Biden’s toast, he said his beloved home state led to the nations’ early ties.

He noted that he grew up in a section of Delaware near the Brandywine battlefield, “a young man named Marquis de Lafayette who fought for the American cause and became close friends with a fellow named George Washington.”

Some Biden administration advisers focused on brushing up on their French history before arriving at the state party. Mr. Gene Sperling, a senior adviser to Biden, told reporters he made sure to work on his American history homework with his daughter before dinner, “reminding us of who funded our revolution.”

“That counts for something,” he said.