Biden’s first state dinner comes nearly two years into his first term, after the Covid pandemic put the pageantry on pause. The president’s selection of France as the guest is a testament to Biden and Macron’s close relationship — on full display Thursday as the two leaders referred to each other as “friend” in their chummy interactions, which included the French president frequently patting his U.S. counterpart on the back and referring to him as “Dear Joe.”
The ritzy affair comes after a long day of diplomatic discussions, in which the foreign leaders held a lengthy bilateral to discuss thorny subjects like the energy crisis in Europe, the Inflation Reduction Act’s impact abroad and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The leaders then held a joint press conference with more than a hundred members of the American and French press in the East Room of the White House.
One such high-profile dinner during the Obama administration was also the stage for a highly-publicized security stumble. A Virginia couple, both aspiring reality TV stars, managed to crash Obama’s first state dinner and meet the then-president in 2009, leading to a flood of D.C. social criticism and a full review of the breach.
Olivia Olander contributed to this report.
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