It wasn’t the star-studded red carpet of the Obama years, but a veritable who’s who of politicians and special guests of honor made their way to the White House Tuesday evening for the Trump administration’s first state dinner, with France.
Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived with Apple Vice President Lisa Jackson, who served the Obama administration as Environmental Protection Agency chief.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch was joined by his wife, Jerry Hall.
Olympic curler John Shuster and women’s hockey player Meghan Duggan passed through, their gold medals in tow.
“Do you travel with those everywhere?” one reporter asked.
“Most places, yes,” Duggan said, laughing.
Arriving in a hall adorned with soft white florals and greenery on a trellis, the guests, in black tie attire, passed by reporters and television cameras on their way to the main event.
A tuxedo-clad House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy stopped to tout the “very strong” relationship between the United States and France.
“This is the first state dinner and the time that they have spent together, I think they have built a really strong bond,” he said.
Other notable guests included members of Louisiana’s congressional delegation and its Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, billionaire David Rubinstein, Maine Gov. Paul LePage, French Ambassador to the US Gerard Araud and other administration officials.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner passed through together. Trump said, “Oui,” she spoke “un petit peu” of French.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, in a glamorous black lace gown, her hair in an updo, joked that she wasn’t taking questions.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, were among the attendees. Linton, clad in a slinky silver Cavalli gown, told reporters she was excited for “everything French.”
Other Cabinet secretaries included Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, as well as national security adviser John Bolton and National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow.
Cabinet secretaries not in attendance included embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt; Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who was recently under investigation by his department’s inspector general regarding reassignment of senior executive staffers and his use of military and private aircraft; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who recently faced criticism for spending; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a frequent subject of President Donald Trump’s public frustration. Secretaries Alex Azar, Alexander Acosta, Rick Perry, Sonny Perdue and Betsy DeVos were also not in attendance. The White House did not comment on whether they had been invited to the intimate event.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump greeted the Macrons at the front door of the White House as they arrived from nearby Blair House.
The first lady paid homage to France with a Chanel Haute Couture gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystals and sequins.
She held the President’s hand as the couples walked inside.
The dinner will be in the White House State Dining Room, which can accommodate between 100 and 150 guests. The menu will feature American cuisine with nuances of French influence.
This is the 14th time the White House has hosted France for a state dinner, per the White House Historical Association.
CNN’s Kate Bennett contributed to this report.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that the inspector general completed its report on Zinke.