For his first state dinner, President Donald Trump surrounded himself with his buddies—billionaire business executives—and cut out his least favorite people, Democrats and journalists.
On the short guest list for the dinner Tuesday, which honored French President Emmanuel Macron, was Blackstone Chairman Stephen Schwarzman, who headed the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum of influential American CEOs, which was disbanded after some members disagreed with Trump’s Charlottesville response.
Another attendee was Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein, who supported Trump’s tax cut bill and earlier this year said the administration “has pleased the business community and other people as well.”
Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of 21st Century Fox and controller of Trump’s favorite channel Fox News, attended, along with Goldman Sachs Executive Vice President John F.W. Rogers and Apple CEO Tim Cook. The guest list also included IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson and KKR co-founder Henry Kravis.
The only elected Democrat present was Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards, likely due to the French heritage of his state. Cook’s plus one was Apple executive Lisa Jackson, who served as Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.
Trump’s guest list not only excluded elected Democrats and members of the media he has constantly bashed, but also popular entertainers.
By contrast, his predecessor Barack Obama, in his final state dinner in October 2016, invited music stars Gwen Stefani, Blake Shelton and Frank Ocean, comedian Jerry Seinfeld, actor John Turturro and filmmaker Ken Burns.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, National Security Adviser John Bolton and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly also attended the Macron event.
Nearly two dozen French officials and notables joined Macron and his wife Brigitte, who traveled to Washington, D.C. for a three-day visit.
“On both sides of the ocean, some two years ago, very few would have bet on us being here together today,” the French president said.
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