Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, KKR and Co. co-founder Henry Kravis and famed producer Jeffrey Katzenberg are among the guests Thursday at President Joe Biden's first state dinner honouring French President Emmanuel Macron.
LVMH founder Bernard Arnault, joined by Helene Marie Mercier Arnault, Delphine Arnault, executive vice president of Louis Vuitton, and Evercore Inc. Senior Chairman Roger Altman were among the corporate executives who received coveted invitations to the state dinner, the first at the White House in more than three years.
Also at the dinner are Avram Glazer, whose family owns the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a majority stake in Manchester United; Ted Sarandos, the Netflix Inc. co-CEO, with his wife Nicole Avant, former US ambassador to the Bahamas; and Laurene Powell Jobs, the president and founder of Emerson Collective.
The dinner, considered one of the most lavish White House traditions and a show of respect to visiting heads of state, caps a busy two days of meetings and events for Macron, his wife Brigitte, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden.
The guest list is one of the larger ones for a state dinner in recent history, according to Colleen Shogan, a historian at the White House Historical Association.
Some guests appeared on the red carpet, while others chose to arrive through a separate White House entrance to avoid the press.
As she walked down the red carpet, Conde Nast's Anna Wintour was asked how Vogue magazine snagged an exclusive interview with the president's daughter, Naomi Biden, before her wedding at the White House last month. "Well, what gal doesn't want to be in Vogue for her wedding," Wintour responded.
Other notables from media and Hollywood include Atlantic Media chair David Bradley and Katherine Bradley; MSNBC's "Morning Joe" co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and husband Joe Scarborough; and Julia Louis-Dreyfus of "Veep" fame.
Actress Jennifer Garner is attending the dinner with her daughter, Violet Affleck. Also walking down the red carpet at the White House were John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.
Tim Cook was accompanied by Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. He told reporters that his meeting Wednesday with Twitter Inc. owner Elon Musk was "very good."
Tony West, senior vice president and chief legal officer at Uber Technologies Inc., was accompanied by his wife Maya Harris, the sister of Vice President Kamala Harris. The vice president also attended with the second gentleman, Doug Emhoff.
"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert arrived with his wife, Evelyn McGee-Colbert.
Democratic lawmakers at the dinner include House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was joined by her daughter, journalist and documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, as well as Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer of New York, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and House Democratic Whip James Clyburn.
But the dinner is a bipartisan affair with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Whip Stephen Scalise, Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins and Representative Michael McCaul of Texas attending.
McCarthy said on the red carpet that he thought Republicans, who will control the House next year, would be able to work with Biden on the economy, energy independence, border security and stopping fentanyl smuggling.
Asked how he felt about dining with Biden's son Hunter Biden, whom Republicans plan to investigate, McCarthy said: "Well, I'm at dinner with my mom so we're going to have a great time."
The president's home state of Delaware was represented by Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester, Governor John Carney, and Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons. The president's daughter Ashley Biden also attended.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra and Secretary of State Antony Blinken are among the guests from the president's Cabinet.
The guests dined in a large heated tent on the South Lawn of the White House, where they were served Maine lobster, American caviar, ravioli, steak and potatoes, according to the first lady's office.
The menu also includes a cheese course highlighted by Oregon's Rogue River Blue, the first US cheese to ever win the World Cheese Awards. Guests will enjoy a performance by Grammy Award-winning musician Jon Batiste, who will perform along with his father, Michael Batiste.
The inclusion of Maine lobster sparked criticism from Oceana, a conservation advocacy group. Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch and the Marine Stewardship Council have encouraged consumers to avoid Maine lobster because of the threat its fishing practices pose to endangered North Atlantic right whales.
The state dinner is the second hosted for Macron, who was previously honored in April 2018 by then-President Donald Trump.
Trump also hosted a state dinner for then-Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in September 2019, in what would be the last such event at the White House before the pandemic.
The Macrons will travel to New Orleans on Friday where they will meet with Louisiana Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, who is also at Thursday's dinner.
McCarthy, Cook, Kravis, Arnault and Edwards attended Trump's Macron dinner as well.