Presidential son Hunter Biden, who has become notorious for international entanglements and dubious foreign business deals, was one of the guests Thursday night at his father’s first state dinner, a celebration for the president of France.
He was accompanied by his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden. Hunter Biden is under federal investigation for possible tax violations, and his business dealings will soon receive additional scrutiny from House Republicans when they take over the majority of the House in January.
The president’s daughter, Ashley, was also with the family for the event.
The guest list also included former Representative Joe Scarborough and his wife, Mika Brzezinski, hosts of the liberal MSNBC show “Morning Joe.”
David Saslaw, head of CNN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour were among the list of media moguls expected to attend.
Big Tech also made a show, with Apple CEO Tim Cook dining at the White House. Laurene Powell Jobs, wife of the late Apple founder Steve Jobs, was also in attendance.
Among the celebrities in attendance was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who starred in the TV show “Veep,” a role President Biden played for eight years under President Obama.
Other Hollywood stars in attendance included producer and director Baz Luhrmann – who came along with Ms. Wintour – actress Jennifer Garner and Dreamworks co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. Political commentator and comedian Stephen Colbert was also on the list.
Several musicians were invited, including John Legend and his wife Chrissy Tiegen, but not to outshine singer-songwriter John Batiste, who will serenade guests with his music inspired by French and American cultural influences he picked up growing up in New Orleans .
Top congressional Republicans were also on the guest list. Among them is House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy of California, whose troops will soon investigate Hunter Biden. Mr. McCarthy brought his mother, Roberta.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was also in attendance, as was Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota and his wife, Kimberley, and Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, who brought along his wife Vicki. Maine Senator Susan Collins was also in attendance.
Mr Biden’s first official state visit to honor French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte began earlier Thursday with an arrival ceremony on the red carpet on the South Lawn, lined with hundreds of Francophiles waving French and American flags.
The arrival preceded an hours-long Oval Office meeting between the two leaders and visits by Mr Macron and Vice President Kamala Harris to the State Department.
The Biden administration billed the official visit as a symbol of the strong ties between the US and its oldest ally and an opportunity for the two countries to closely align on global issues such as climate change, the war in Ukraine and competition with China.
Ms Biden, ahead of the evening’s festivities, said the state dinner will be “an expression of welcome and friendship”.
The menu includes butter-poached Maine lobster and a selection of award-winning American cheeses among other delights, “inspired by the shared colors of our flags – red, white and blue – and our common values: liberty and democracy, equality and camaraderie ,” Ms Biden said.
“These are the foundation upon which our long-standing friendship is built,” the first lady added.