- President Trump is set to host his first state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday.
- In a departure from tradition, the event is not open to Democratic members of Congress or the media. Four Republican lawmakers are slated to attend.
- Trump is also the first president since Calvin Coolidge not to host a state dinner within the first year of his presidency.
President Trump’s first state dinner will exclude congressional Democrats and members of the media in a sharp departure from tradition, Politico reported Friday.
About 150 guests will join Trump in honouring French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday. The event stands in sharp contrast to the former President Barack Obama’s first state dinner – a bipartisan, lavish affair that hosted upward of 350 guests on the South Lawn.
According to Politico, four Republican members of Congress are set to attend Trump’s first state dinner: House Speaker Paul Ryan, House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce, and Louisiana Sens. John Kennedy and Bill Cassidy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was also invited but will reportedly not be able to attend.
It’s not the first time Trump has strayed from tradition.
According to the White House Historical Association, Trump is the first US leader since Calvin Coolidge not to host a state dinner within the first year of his presidency.
Tuesday’s event is slated to take place in the State Dining Room at the White House and will be coordinated by first lady Melania Trump’s office instead of by an event-planning firm. The first lady’s press secretary told Politico they have been planning the dinner for months and are focusing on “guest experience, tradition and our country’s rich history with France.”
Jeremy Bernard, who served in the Obama administration as social secretary, told Politico that Trump’s decision to hold a smaller state dinner that excludes media and Democratic members of Congress “seems to be the opposite of tradition but that’s their prerogative.”
He added: “It certainly doesn’t add any feeling of harmony, that’s for sure.”
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