Biden prepares for star-studded first White House state dinner with French president


Jon Batiste
Musician Jon Batiste performs at a press preview of an art installation entitled “Eyes on Iran” in New York, Monday, Nov. 28, 2022. Multiple works of art are displayed at Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms State Park and speak to the current protests happening in Iran. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Seth Wenig/AP

Biden prepares for star-studded first White House state dinner with French president

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The White House is currently preparing for its first state visit with French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday, which will include a star-studded state dinner at the White House that will highlight the long-standing ties between the United States and France.

Macron’s visit is the first state visit for President Joe Biden and will include a performance by multi-Grammy award-winning artist Jon Batiste, according to a spokeswoman for first lady Jill Biden, whose office is overseeing the dinner.


“An artist who transcends generations, Jon Batiste’s music inspires and brings people together,” spokeswoman Vanessa Valdivia told the Associated Press. “We’re thrilled to have him perform at the White House for the first state dinner of the Biden-Harris administration.”

The artist will be adding “White House Entertainer” to a long list of accomplishments, which includes bandleader, musical director, recording artist, film composer, and museum creative director. Batiste most recently finished a seven-year run as the bandleader and musical director for Stephen Colbert’s late-night show. He has also received five Grammy awards this year, including for album of the year, as well as an Academy Award for best original score.

The black-tie dinner for Macron and his wife, Brigitte, is the latest in a string of busy social events for the White House. Joe Biden’s granddaughter Naomi got married at the White House earlier this month, and Jill Biden unveiled the White House decorations for the holiday season on Monday.


Macron’s visit was announced in September. The French president was also the first state visit for former President Donald Trump in 2018. Joe Biden’s first state visit comes more than halfway through his term, which is later than in previous administrations. However, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed the return of in-person events at the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre noted at the time.

Macron will also visit New Orleans during his state visit, becoming the first French president to visit the formerly French city in 45 years.

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