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How the Trumps’ First State Dinner Will Break With Tradition

April 24, 2018, 11:08 AM UTC

President Trump will be giving his first state dinner as president Tuesday night, hosting French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte as part of their three-day state visit to the American capital.

First Lady Melania, who has preferred to maintain a low profile since becoming First Lady, will be under the spotlight. Sticking with tradition, she has played a prominent role in planning the event. Not only is she responsible for the key decisions surrounding the dinner, but also the stakes are higher, as the Trumps have waited 15 months to host their first state dinner.

At least a few things will be different from state dinners past.

  • The invitees: Presidents like Obama often hosted large state dinners, inviting as many as 350 people. The Trumps have reportedly brought that list down to about 120 people.
  • The guestlist: Journalists and celebrities will be largely shunned this year.
  • The entertainment: Whereas President Obama invited pop stars like Beyonce to perform at such events, the Trumps plan to have the Washington National Opera.
  • The politicians: According to reports, only one Democrat has been invited to the dinner—John Bel Edwards, the governor of Louisiana.

Not all cabinet members are invited, which The New York Times notes keeps with tradition. However, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife are reportedly among those on the guest list.

Other details that have been revealed include the color scheme—cream and gold; the flowers—cherry blossoms, white sweet peas, and white lilac; and the menu—American with “French influences.”

And Melania will subtly pay tribute to previous administrations. Some of the ingredients used in the meal will be sourced from the White House garden planted by Michelle Obama, while the meal will be served on china from the Clinton and George W. Bush White Houses.