Ready to party, Trump-style?
The state visit by French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigette, is underway, and on Monday night, first lady Melania Trump threw open the doors to the historic State Dining Room for a sneak peek at the sumptuous state dinner the White House is holding in their honor.
Here’s what it looked like: Tall tapered candles illuminated the tables, which were draped with heavy damask-like tablecloths and set with the china pattern introduced by the Clintons (white with a gold border). A cream-and-gold color scheme dominated, with tightly massed centerpieces of sweet peas and white lilacs. Menu cards embossed with a gold fleur de lis were a nod to the guests of honor. The effect was understated but with a touch of that signature Trump bling.
Before the 130 or so guests enter the room, they will pass through the Cross Hall, where giant planters filled with massive cherry-blossom branches lined their path.
As for what will be hitting those plates, the menu is a mashup of American and French cuisines (our colleague Tom Sietsema breaks it down here.)
The Trumps and the Macrons dined on Dover sole and cherry ice cream on Monday night at a private dinner held at Mount Vernon, the historic estate along the banks of the Potomac River built by George Washington. Before they hopped into their ride to dinner (Marine One provided valet service to and from the White House lawn), the foursome stopped to ceremonially plant an oak tree the French had brought as a host-and-hostess gift.
Using gold-toned shovels, President Trump and his Gallic counterpart turned a bit of dirt over as their wives looked on, smiling.
And because it wouldn’t be a state visit without a healthy dose of symbolism, this was no ordinary sapling from the garden center — according to the White House, it’s a European sessile oak from Belleau Wood, where more than 9,000 U.S. Marines died in World War I’s Belleau Wood battle. Here’s hoping it’s hardy: Our colleague, gardening columnist Adrian Higgins wonders whether it will thrive in Washington. “I don’t see this species (Quercus petraea) listed in any of my American tree books, which suggests it may not do well around here (too hot),” he wrote in an email. “It is native to much of Europe, including Eastern Europe, so it might be okay.”