President Donald Trump and wife Melania’s guests have started arriving at the White House as they fete the French president and first lady at their first state dinner.
Trump is celebrating nearly 250 years of US-French relations by playing host to President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte at the glitzy White House state dinner on Tuesday night.
First daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner were among the first to arrive at the White House, along with Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen shortly after 6pm.
Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. The media mogul held his wife Jerry Hall’s hand as they made their way into the White House.
Other notable guests who made their way into the White House included CEO of Apple Tim Cook and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Aides had feared that the president would personally dole out invitations to the dinner last week while visiting Mar-a-Lago so they constrained him to adding just four names to the guest list.
First daughter Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner arrived at the White House state dinner on Tuesday night honoring French President Emmanuel Macron
Vice President Mike Pence waved to the cameras as he held his wife Karen’s hand in the Booksellers Area of the White House
Reporters were left off the invite list but one media mogul made the list: the owner of Fox News Channel Rupert Murdoch. He is pictured above entering the White House with wife Jerry Hall (left). US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and wife Louise Linton (right) followed close behind
It’s unclear if Murdoch and Hall were among that group.
The White House will release the full guest list, which is expected to number around 130 people, directly before the dinner, but Congressional Democrats and White House reporters are already known to have been left out.
WHAT’S ON THE STATE DINNER MENU?
Goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles and young variegated lettuces.
Rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina gold Rice Jambalaya
Nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream.
Two wines from Oregon will be served and a demi-sec champagne.
The only Democrat known to be coming is Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, as it’s custom to invite Louisiana politicians to state dinners with France because of the state’s Cajun-French roots.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan will attend, his office confirmed.
Others known to be on the guest list include Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, who is French.
The Times also reported that Steven Mnuchin and his colorful actress wife Louise Linton will also be on hand.
The White House showed off the finishing touches of first lady Melania Trump’s decor on Monday night, from the place-setting to the giant flower arrangements greeting guests.
Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House and were greeted by gold table settings, gold silverware, gold candlesticks, gold wine glasses, gold chairs – situated elegantly around puffs of green and white flowers – in the candlelit state dining room.
At each of the 130 place settings there was a menu, with the White House seal and the fleur-de-lis, which were also in gold.
Just outside the state dining room, the first lady went with a different theme, using some 1,200 cherry blossoms in giant black vases that would greet guests as they came in.
Earlier on Monday, the White House had released some details about the dinner, including the menu.
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (left) arrives with his wife shortly before Chief of Staff John Kelly (right)
Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his wife (left) arrive in the Booksellers Area of the White House shortly after Trump’s pick for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo (right)
Reporters were briefly allowed into the White House’s state dining room Monday night to take in the first lady’s designs for the Trump administration’s first state dinner
Earlier in the day, the first lady tweeted pictures of herself huddling with her social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) as the two women went over last minute details for Tuesday’s state dinner with France
Melania Trump’s vision for her first state dinner included golden place settings, puffs of white and light green flowers and dinner by candlelight
The first lady used china from two administrations – Bill Clinton’s and George H.W. Bush’s – to create a golden look for the tables, which glowed under the candlelight
Touches of gold were used on the menu too, including a golden presidential seal, and a golden fleur-de-lis
Mrs. Trump chose Clinton china services to coordinate with the dinner’s cream and gold color scheme, and Bush china with a green color palette to ‘compliment the spring garden and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room’
The Office of the First Lady has prepared the following details, all carefully selected by First Lady Melania Trump, to complement and pay homage to the long-standing friendship between the United States and France
The Trumps, the Macrons and their guests will dine on food that showcases ‘the best of America’s cuisines and traditions’ with some French influence: the main course is a rack of spring lamb and Carolina Gold rice jambalaya cooked with celery, peppers, onions, and herbs from the South Lawn
Mrs. Trump ‘carefully selected’ all of the details for the state visit and paid particular attention to how the dining room looked
Melania Trump chose 1,200 cheery blossoms to line the Cross Hall, which state dinner guests will walk through to get to the state dining room
Mrs. Trump has also been doing some homework, educating herself about the protocol and history of these sorts of White House events. This is to ensure her selections for the Macrons’ visit have meaning behind them, down to the china, flowers, color scheme and menu, which, while American, will highlight the influence France has had on American cuisine
The giant vases of cherry blossoms are seen Monday night in the Cross Hall as reporters were briefly allowed into the White House to see the set-up for Tuesday night’s state dinner with France
The White House’s Cross Hall was decorated with giant vases of cherry blossoms, in preparation for tomorrow’s state dinner with France
President Bill Clinton’s portrait hangs next to one of Melania Trump’s giant vases of cherry blossoms. Despite their political differences, the first lady used the Clinton china as part of her first state dinner’s place settings
Goat cheese gateau, tomato jam, buttermilk biscuit crumbles, young variegated lettuces would be served, along with a rack of spring lamb, burnt cipollini soubise and Carolina gold Rice Jambalaya, with a nectarine tart and crème fraîche ice cream for dessert.
Two wines from Oregon will be served and a demi-sec champagne.
Tomorrow’s meal is being prepared by White House Executive Chef Christeta Comerford, who was hired during President George W. Bush’s administration, and stayed through the Obama years.
The first lady spent last Saturday in bipartisan company, attending the funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush alongside the Clintons and Obamas – all Democrats – and former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, with his wife Laura.
And on Tuesday, she’ll be showcasing china from the administrations of President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush.
The first lady’s office says that selected pieces from the Vermeil and American Silver collections, as well as Tiffany & Co. and S. Kirk & Sons, will also be included.
‘Remember, she has a design background,’ the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham told the Washington Post.
Social secretary Rickie Niceta told the publication that the first lady, a former model, ‘has amazing taste, which makes things very, very easy.’
Celebrities are not expected. And neither are media figures and Democrats.
On Monday, first lady Melania Trump tweeted out several photos of the preparations she was making for her first state dinner, which will be held Tuesday with the French president and first lady
First lady Melania Trump (center) and social secretary Rickie Niceta (right) go over details for Tuesday’s state dinner with France
First lady Melania Trump gestures toward the large displays of cherry blossoms that were installed for Tuesday’s state dinner with France
Melania Trump shares a photo of herself in the White House’s state dining room, where Tuesday night’s state dinner with France will take place
The Clinton China rests on a table as First Lady Laura Bush gives the press a preview of the dining room for the State Dinner in honor of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi’s visit to the White House in 2006. First Lady Melania Trump has also selected the Clinton China for her event
The Clinton China, seen here during a state dinner in George W. Bush’s administration, will be on display again tomorrow evening at the Trump White House
During the Obama years, the White House tried to invite several A and B-listers out of Hollywood to each dinner, along with a number of television personalities and White House reporters.
Obama would also try to invite several Republicans in an effort to break bread across the aisle.
The Washington National Opera will provide the evening’s entertainment.
The Trump administration’s first state dinner comes later than the inaugural dinner of the White House’s two immediate predecessors, with President Obama hosting his first state dinner in November 2009.
That dinner made headlines when two reality television stars – Tareq and Michaele Salahi – crashed the cocktail hour, which led to several security probes.
President George W. Bush hosted his first state dinner on September 5, 2001, six days before the 9/11 terror attacks.
France is getting its turn earlier under Trump than it did under either previous American president, with the last two coming in 2007 and 2014.
Melania Trump highlighted the work her office had done in a Monday morning tweet that said: ‘After months of preparations, @POTUS and I are looking forward to hosting our first State Dinner with France! Thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to make this visit a success.’
She later tweeted several pictures of her ‘checking on the final details,’ which included a look at the cherry blossoms – 1,200 which were used – to decorate the Cross Hall.