State Dining Room, The White House

Welcome everyone, to the White House. We’re in the beginning of our holiday season, of course, so I hope you are enjoying these beautiful displays.

My mother made every dinner a special occasion. She would bring out the china, put fresh flowers on the table, and light candles. Even if we were only having fish sticks from the freezer, she always made our dinners feel special.

I learned that setting a table can be an act of love—and once I had my own family, I did my best to keep that tradition alive.

Our first State Dinner, which we are serving tomorrow night on the South Lawn—will be no different. It’s an expression of welcome and friendship—a way to connect through a language that transcends words. And as each dish comes to the table, so too does the meaning behind it.

Joe and I have had the pleasure of spending some time with President and Mrs. Macron over the past two years.

When I traveled to Japan to support Team USA at the Olympics last summer, I found myself cheering alongside President Macron during the three-on-three women’s basketball game. Though we were rooting for opposite sides, there was a comradery in the shared love we had for our teams.

And I got to know Mrs. Macron in Rome, where we instantly clicked as educators. So I’m excited to bring her to the Planet Word Museum tomorrow to meet some amazing students.

And now, we are so glad to welcome them to the White House as the first couple of our oldest ally: France.

The design of this dinner was inspired by the shared colors of our flags—red, white, and blue—and our common values: liberty and democracy, equality and fellowship.
These form the bedrock upon which our enduring friendship was built.

On the tables are vivid red roses and blue delphiniums, alongside white irises—which are the symbols of our nation’s capital and of France—their intricate petals reflecting the interwoven history of our nations.

Our chefs, Cris and Susie, have put together such a thoughtful menu for this event. And I’m especially excited that we are featuring American cheeses for our cheese course, including Rogue River Blue, the champion of the 2019 World Cheese Awards.

We chose Jon Batiste as our entertainer for the evening—a performer who grew up in New Orleans, which has been shaped by both French and American culture.

From playing in seminal brass bands, to leading the Louisiana Postal Workers Union during the civil rights movement, the Batiste family has been part of American history. Tomorrow, we are adding a State Dinner to that remarkable list.

And throughout the dinner—from images on the pavilion walls, to the chandeliers that will hang above us, to the dishes and displays on the tables—are symbols and celebrations of the many ties that bind our nations together.

The journey of planning this event has been an unforgettable experience. I’ve had the chance to collaborate with truly brilliant individuals—especially Carlos Elizondo, our White House Social Secretary. So many people have worked for months to make this visit magical and meaningful—and I’m grateful for all of them.

Our hope is that the end result will be a night that balances the beauty of our friendship with the seriousness of our purpose.

And we hope that French citizens everywhere feel the warmth of our welcome.

May our relationship grow stronger, our ties deeper, and our futures brighter as we deepen our partnership.

Now I will turn it over to our White House Social Secretary, Carlos Elizondo.


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