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In photos: Biden hosts first state dinner with French president as special guest

Deseret News 12/2/2022 Gitanjali Poonia
Trollies used to transport guests on the South Lawn are seen as President Joe Biden hosts French President Emmanuel Macron for a state dinner on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022. © Andrew Harnik, Associated Press Trollies used to transport guests on the South Lawn are seen as President Joe Biden hosts French President Emmanuel Macron for a state dinner on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022.

President Joe Biden hosted the first state dinner of his presidency at the White House on Thursday, in honor of France, a key American ally.

The tradition returned after a pause during COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, with French President Emmanuel Macron in attendance, joined by his wife, Brigitte Macron.

During the evening, Macron called his U.S. counterpart “Dear Joe” and the two referred to each other as “friend,” according to Politico,

Grammy- and Oscar-winning musician Jon Batiste performed for more than 300 guests who were invited to the event, including government officials, French fashion designers, actors and television personalities, according to The New York Times.

Guests were served Napa Valley wine and award-winning American cheeses. As for the main course, there was butter-poached lobster from Maine, and caviar and beef with shallot marmalade, among other options. The dessert was a Biden favorite, an orange chiffon cake and crème fraîche ice cream.

At one point, the two presidents raised their glasses and Biden said: “Vive la France and God Bless America.”

Per CBS News, Biden and Macron throughout the evening reaffirmed the U.S.-France partnership and their devotion to defending democracy and freedom. 

“If you look at what’s going on in Ukraine, look at what’s going on in the Indo-Pacific and the tensions with China, France is really at the center of all those things,” said John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, per CNN. “President Macron has been the dynamic leader inside the G7 … so the President felt that this was exactly the right and the most appropriate country to start with for state visits.”

As a parting gift, Macron gave Biden a centerpiece from Christofle, a high-end French home goods brand, which, crafted in 2012, is a tribute to the French ship “Normandie,” per the report. Biden also received a CD with the soundtrack of the award-winning French film “A Man and a Woman” on it. The Bidens watched the film on their first date.

According to The Guardian, Macron was gifted “a custom mirror made of fallen wood from the White House grounds and a custom vinyl record collection of great American musicians.”

Macron is now headed to New Orleans, Louisiana, the home of the historic French Quarter.

Here is the state dinner in photos.

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