If it wasn't for the recent thawing of relations between Melania Trump and her White House predecessors at Barbara Bush's funeral, you might not have believed this. Trump's plans for the state dinner will recognize former first ladies by including both Michelle Obama's vegetables and Hillary Clinton's china — and some of Laura Bush's china will make an appearance, too.
The statement from the White House makes very clear that these choices are Trump's. "The Office of the First Lady has prepared the following details, all carefully selected by First Lady Melania Trump, to complement and pay homage to the long-standing friendship between the United States and France," it reads, meaning that the first lady herself has taken a bipartisan approach to hosting — even if that's not represented in the guest list. No congressional Democrats were included.
But when it comes to the food, Obama's greens are welcome. The menu features the "best of America’s cuisines and traditions, with nuances of French influences." The greens show up in the first course, which includes "Young Variegated Lettuces... from the White House kitchen garden." White House-sourced ingredients also show up in the main course's "Carolina Gold Rice Jambalaya" which is "spiced with herbs from the South Lawn."
And the china is a mash-up of Clinton's china with some of Bush's mixed in. "The color scheme is cream and gold and the china settings consist of the Clinton china for the baseplate, along with both Bush (43) and Clinton china for the dinner service," the White House statement reads. Clinton's china has a yellow outer circle and gold edging. The Bush china is very conservative presidential with golden eagles, gold edging, and patterns in green.
"The First Lady chose the Bush china with the green color palette to complement the spring green and white flowers that will be featured in the State Dining Room," the White House statement read. No explicit reasoning for the Clinton china choice was given — even though arguably the bulk of the china used will be hers, given the choice of the baseplate.
As for the flower arrangements, the Cross Hall is already full of branches of cherry blossom, "all grown in the United States." Trump uploaded photos to Twitter showing her walking through the area with her team. What's not made a social media appearance yet are the "2,500 stems of white sweet peas and nearly 1,000 stems of white lilac" that will be featured in the dining room. Perhaps that's because not all are grown in the United States. It's a California and Dutch mix.
The guests of honor have already arrived. French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, arrived Monday and began their active itinerary. The couple, together with the Trumps, planted a tree in the White House lawn. It's a European sessile oak that comes from Belleau Woods, northeast of Paris, where Americans fought and died during World War I.
Later on, the two couples boarded Marine One and took in the sights of Washington, D.C., en route to Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic home on the Potomac River. They had dinner there, which Trump called "really fantastic" before returning to the White House.
Macron expressed his thoughts on the visit upon landing yesterday at the military air field near D.C. “This is a great honor and I think a very important state visit given the moment of our current environment,” Macron said.
Other famous French guests include Christine Lagarde, who heads the International Monetary Fund and was a top French government official under a previous center-right government.
All will enjoy Melania Trump's preparations, the great locally sourced food, and the Bush and Clinton china.