Jennifer Garner, John Legend attend lavish US state dinner for France’s Macron

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US President Joe Biden rolled out the red carpet on Thursday for celebrities, lawmakers, and titans of industry at the White House’s first state dinner in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron.

The dinner is the crowning social event of a trip aimed at showing Biden’s commitment to Washington’s oldest ally even as the two countries wrangle over how to handle Russia’s war in Ukraine, subsidies for US products and other issues.

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The guest list included actress Jennifer Garner and her daughter with Ben Affleck, Violet; singer John Legend and model Chrissy Teigen; “Vogue” editor Anna Wintour; and director Baz Luhrmann.

Those celebrities joined members of Biden’s Cabinet, lawmakers, and business leaders including Bank of America Corp CEO Brian Moynihan, KKR & Co Inc investor Henry Kravis and Microsoft Corp president Brad Smith.

On Thursday night, Biden and his wife, Jill, welcomed the Macrons back to the White House for the dinner after diplomatic meetings earlier in the day. The US president wore a tuxedo; Jill wore an Oscar de la Renta lace dress and dangly silver earrings.

Less than two weeks after Biden’s granddaughter was married on White House grounds, the event brought a touch of pizzazz to the businesslike presidential residence, whose social calendar was undermined by precautions taken in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The formal dinner, hosted in a pavilion on the White House South Lawn, will feature music from Jon Batiste, Chardonnay from the Napa Valley and cheeses from Oregon, California and Wisconsin. Some 200 Maine lobsters were flown in for the occasion.

The lavish Washington dinner is one of few events that bring together people including the president’s son Hunter and Kevin McCarthy, who leads a Republican congressional delegation that has vowed to investigate his business dealings.

Macron and his wife, Brigitte, arrived in Washington on Tuesday for his second state visit to the United States since the French leader took office in 2017.

Biden, 80, and Macron, 44, have had many meetings at international gatherings but this was the longest time they have spent together.

The two leaders and their wives, who dined together informally at a restaurant on Wednesday, took part in a South Lawn arrival ceremony that featured a military honor guard, a red-jacketed colonial band with the Fife and Drum Corps and national anthems.

Among the gifts Macron brought was a vinyl and CD version of the original soundtrack of Claude Lelouch’s 1966 film “Un Homme et une Femme,” the film the Bidens went to see on their first date, according to the Elysee Palace.

The Bidens presented Macron with a custom mirror made of fallen wood from the White House grounds and a custom vinyl record collection of great American musicians.

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