Throughout this month, President Joe Biden has been appearing at elite events, from the Kennedy Center Honors to talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.
On Thursday, President Biden hosted the first White House state dinner of his administration. The White House invited more than 330 guests from business, politics and entertainment.
The guest list also brought together two unlikely figures: First Son Hunter Biden and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California.
McCarthy just watched his party win control of the House, and he apparently hopes to become House speaker in January.
Some House Republicans slammed McCarthy for dining with Hunter Biden, a prime target for oversight investigations by the incoming Congress.
“Tonight Kevin McCarthy had dinner with Hunter Biden at a state dinner with Macron to rally support for more US aid to Ukraine,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., tweeted Thursday. “He should not be Speaker.”
“Kevin McCarthy is in It for the STATUS and Perks,” Newsmax host Greg Kelly tweeted Friday. “He should have been home last night preparing SUBPOENAS… for HUNTER.”
McCarthy has dismissed critiques like these.
The night of the dinner, McCarthy fielded questions about how he felt about attending a dinner with Hunter Biden, whom Republicans are keen to investigate during the next Congress. He said, “I’m at dinner with my mom and I’m going to have a great time.”
The White House reportedly invited six congressional Republicans in total, including McCarthy. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., eventually attended, according to The Hill.
The following day, McCarthy reaffirmed his intent to investigate Hunter Biden, evidently downplaying his dinner with the man.
“We’re learning in real-time how Twitter colluded to silence the truth about Hunter Biden’s laptop just days before the 2020 presidential election,” McCarthy tweeted. “In 32 days, the new House Republican majority will get answers for the American people and the accountability they deserve.”
Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was also attending. She got a seat at the head table with the Bidens and Macrons; McCarthy did not.
Take a look at these photos of McCarthy —
Late Night Host Stephen Colbert, Apple CEO Tim Cook, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg arrive at tonight's State Dinner at the White House. pic.twitter.com/UEsGEIQjva
— DJ Judd (@DJJudd) December 1, 2022
I asked @GOPLeader, who is attending the state dinner at the White House, what it would be like to be dining at an event with Hunter Biden, given his caucus’s desire to investigate @POTUS’s son. McCarthy replied: I’m here with my mother. pic.twitter.com/K2y0rFu6PW
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) December 1, 2022
Plenty of business luminaries attended, including French luxury goods magnate Bernard Arnault, movie mogul and investor Jeffrey Katzenberg, private equity legend Henry Kravis and IBM CEO Arvind Krishna.
The guest list also had a heavy presence of big Democratic donors who helped the party make a better-than-expected showing in the midterm elections.
Among these guests were Katzenberg, a big Hollywood money man; Avram Glazer, who in recent years has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic causes; and Alexander Soros, the son of George Soros and deputy chair of Soros’ Open Society.
Perhaps the most notable guest was French President Emmanuel Macron, who spoke with Biden earlier this month to discuss international trade and the Russo-Ukrainian War.
The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article.