Guess who wasn't at the state dinner for France's President Macron
Last night's state dinner for President Macron, the first such event for President Trump, set a new tone for these events, at least compared to President Obama. CBS News apparently judged that the most newsworthy aspect of the occasion deserved the lede: "There were no celebrity guests, Hollywood entertainers or superstar chefs."
No rap stars, either.
CNN noted which Cabinet members were and were not in attendance, perhaps a sign of who is in favor and who is not. Or maybe not:
Cabinet secretaries not in attendance included embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt; Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who was recently under investigation by his department's inspector general regarding reassignment of senior executive staffers and his use of military and private aircraft; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, who recently faced criticism for spending; and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a frequent subject of President Donald Trump's public frustration. Secretaries Alex Azar, Alexander Acosta, Rick Perry, Sonny Perdue and Betsy DeVos were also not in attendance. The White House did not comment on whether they had been invited to the intimate event.
I think it is possible to read far too much into these events, as if they were like the reviewing stand for May Day parades in Red Square when Stalin ruled Russia, and the presence or absence of officials was the best indication of the power dynamics. Some people like or care about France more than others.
Nonetheless, an invitation to a state dinner is a prized boon, to be handed out to those enjoying presidential favor.
If anyone really cares, here is a complete list of attendees.
Hat tip: Lauri Regan