The rib-eye steak served at tonight’s state dinner for French President Francoise Hollande might not be the only thing that’s fat — the evening’s tab could be, too. CBS is reporting that the diplomacy and pageantry of state dinners — a longstanding tradition aimed at celebrating key international alliances — can cost more than half a million dollars apiece.
Here are the price tags for the first five such events of President Obama’s administration, per CBS, which got the figures through a Freedom of Information Act request (which the State Department took 13 months to RSVP to). No word on why the dinners for Germany’s Angela Merkel and South Korea’s Lee Myung-bak cost so much less than the others.
- Nov. 24, 2009 – State dinner for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India: $572,187.36
- May 19, 2010 – State dinner for President Felipe Calderon of Mexico: $563,479.92
- Jan. 19, 2011 – State dinner for President Hu Jintao of China: $412,329.73.
- June 7, 2011 – State dinner for Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany: $215,883.36
- Oct. 13, 2011 – State dinner for President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea: $203,053.34
More state dinner coverage from menu to Michelle Obama’s style–and everything in between.