During his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump scoffed at the idea of holding White House state dinners, the most elaborate of events staged in the US president’s home.
“We shouldn’t have dinners at all…we should be eating a hamburger on a conference table,” he said, expressing his disdain for how Barack Obama hosted Chinese president Xi Jinping in the traditionally lavish manner.
Nevertheless, Trump will host his first state dinner when he welcomes French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, to the White House tomorrow (April 24). For the man who ran as a disruptive outsider, it’s yet another of the Washington customs he will be unable to avoid completely.
Politico reported that the event will be a bit smaller than past dinners. Only about 150 guests are expected, none of them congressional Democrats, a break from the practice of including members of the opposing party.
Even with that bit of downsizing, the White House is promoting the dinner as part of the first state visit Trump and his wife, Melania, are hosting, highlighting the menu in a web post, touting “Rack of Spring Lamb” as a main course, along with the wines that will be poured and the china settings to be used (spoiler: it’s china from both Clinton and George W. Bush administrations). Melania Trump has also previewed some of the decorations on Twitter.
Before we get to see which traditions Trump will continue and which ones he’ll check at the door tomorrow night, here is a look at past White House bashes for heads of state: