During his 2016 campaign, Donald Trump scoffed at the idea of holding White House state dinners, the most elaborate of events staged in the US president’s home.
“We shouldn’t have dinners at all…we should be eating a hamburger on a conference table,” he said, expressing his disdain for how Barack Obama hosted Chinese president Xi Jinping in the traditionally lavish manner.
Nevertheless, Trump will host his first state dinner when he welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, to the White House tomorrow (April 24). For the man who ran as a disruptive outsider, it’s yet another of the Washington customs he will be unable to avoid completely.
Politico reported that the event will be a bit smaller than past dinners. Only about 150 guests are expected, none of them congressional Democrats, a break from the practice of including members of the opposing party.
Even with that bit of downsizing, the White House is promoting the dinner as part of the first state visit Trump and his wife, Melania, are hosting, highlighting the menu in a web post, touting “Rack of Spring Lamb” as a main course, along with the wines that will be poured and the china settings to be used (spoiler: it’s china from both Clinton and George W. Bush administrations). Melania Trump has also previewed some of the decorations on Twitter.
Before we get to see which traditions Trump will continue and which ones he’ll check at the door tomorrow night, here is a look at past White House bashes for heads of state:
Michelle and Barack Obama wait to greet Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and wife Ho Ching on Aug. 2, 2016.
Michelle Obama and Barack Obama with French President Francois Hollande after posing for a photo at a state dinner on Feb. 11, 2014.
Barack Obama toasts Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau in the East Room of the White House on March 10, 2016.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe speaks at the White House on April 28, 2015.
Mary J. Blige performs at the state dinner for French president Francois Hollande on Feb. 11, 2014.
Table setting for Barack and Michelle Obama in the State Dining Room at the White House on May 12, 2016.
White House Executive Chef Cristeta Comerford shows the main course during a press preview in the State Dining Room on May 12, 2016, for the dinner in honor of the official visit of Nordic leaders.
George W. and Laura Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, and Prince Philip, pose on May 7, 2007, at the White House.
French president Nicolas Sarkozy speaks at a dinner hosted by George W. Bush at the White House on Nov. 6, 2007.
US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice waits in line to leave after the entertainment portion of the dinner for Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Oct. 13, 2008.
George W. Bush shares a toast with president John Kufuor of Ghana in the State Dining Room Sept. 15, 2008.
US president Bill Clinton and emperor Akihito of Japan raise their glasses in a toast at a White House state dinner on June 13, 1994.
Bill Clinton thanks Elton John and Stevie Wonder after they performed together during a state dinner in honor of British prime minister Tony Blair at the White House on Feb. 5, 1998.
Bill and Hillary Clinton descend the steps with Spain’s King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia in the White House on Feb. 23, 2000.
The Clintons greet French President Jacques Chirac and his wife, Bernadette, on Feb. 1, 1996 at the White House.
Bill Clinton is amused by a toast from French president Jacques Chirac at a state dinner on Feb. 1, 1996.
Ronald Reagan applauds Chinese premier Zhoa Ziyang following a toast at a state dinner at the White House on Jan. 10, 1984.
Ronald and Nancy Reagan with Frank Sinatra at the state dinner on June 18, 1984 for Sri Lankan president J.R. Jayewardene.
Jimmy Carter addresses the guests at the state dinner for Japanese prime minister Masayoshi Ohira on May 2, 1979.
Thai prime minister Kriangsak Chomanan reads a statement at dinner hosted by Jimmy Carter on Feb. 6, 1979.
Gerald Ford dances with Queen Elizabeth II at the White House on July 7, 1976.
Richard and Pat Nixon greet Pierre Elliott Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, at a white-tie state dinner on March 24, 1969.
John and Jacqueline Kennedy welcome the shah and empress of Iran at the White House for a state dinner on April 11, 1962.