HARTFORD, Conn. — Gov. Ned Lamont and his wife will attend Thursday’s White House state dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron, his office announced Wednesday.
In a statement, Lamont said it was an “honor” to receive an invitation to the Biden-Harris administration’s first state visit.
“This is a significant opportunity to represent our state and reinforce the strong cultural and economic ties we have with our French partners,” Lamont said. “While in Washington, I look forward to meeting with other federal partners to discuss critical priorities for our state.”
Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, arrived in Washington on Tuesday for the first state visit of the Biden presidency – a revival of diplomatic pageantry that had been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Biden-Macron relationship had a choppy start. Macron briefly recalled France's ambassador to the United States last year after the White House announced a deal to sell nuclear submarines to Australia, undermining a contract for France to sell diesel-powered submarines.
But the relationship has turned around with Macron emerging as one of Biden's most forward-facing European allies in the Western response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. This week's visit — it will include Oval Office talks, a glitzy dinner, a news conference and more — comes at a critical moment for both leaders.
The U.S. tradition of honoring foreign heads of state dates back to Ulysses S. Grant, who hosted King David Kalakaua of the Kingdom of Hawaii for a more than 20-course White House dinner, but the tradition has been on hold since 2019 because of COVID-19 concerns.
At Thursday’s dinner, Grammy winner Jon Batiste is to provide the entertainment.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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