No, it has no connection to the rest of the country, or even to those operating just beyond the privileged confines of a crowded white tent on the South Lawn.
But the human impulse to come together — especially after the worst part of a long pandemic — is universal. Officials who planned the event said there was an urgent need for Mr. Biden and Mr. Macron to project a united front against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“The magnificence of American soft power was on full display,” Mr. Gifford said. “These personal relationships are at the heart of American foreign policy, and that’s why they are so important.”
Mr Gifford closely watched the members of the French delegation to make sure they were enjoying themselves – and, above all, the food, which included a selection of American cheeses and triple-cooked buttered potatoes.
“The plates were empty, the glasses were empty,” he reported. In other words, none of the French pointed out that the brut rosé and chardonnay on offer were, after all, “American wine”, as the French ambassador did at the state dinner hosted by the Clintons in 1996.
As the old American alliance was carefully nurtured, flashes of bipartisanship emerged that would surprise perhaps even the most tribal supporters of lawmakers. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat, approached Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who is trying to become the next Speaker of the House, to shake his hand. It happened more than once.
A senior White House official, who spoke anonymously to describe private conversations, said conversations with Republicans had remained light – discussions about sports replaced more controversial topics, including, for example, pending surveillance investigations. Guests were discouraged from working in the room for protocol reasons, one attendee said, so it became difficult to clearly see who was doing what.