WASHINGTON — First son Hunter Biden will join the most powerful and influential members of US and French society Thursday night at his father’s first state dinner as president, according to the official guest list.
The disgraced first son has been a pervasive presence near his father since mid-November as House Republicans vow to probe President Biden’s role in his family’s lucrative foreign consulting work.
Several billionaires and Hollywood stars will dine on award-winning wine and cheeses and butter-poached Maine lobsters flown in for the White House dinner honoring French President Emmanuel Macron.
Actresses Jennifer Garner and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, singer John Legend, CBS “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert, “Morning Joe” hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski and “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts are among the attendees.
Vogue editor Anna Wintour also showed up just a week after her magazine published a controversial fluff piece on the White House wedding of Hunter’s eldest daughter Naomi — which was otherwise closed to the press, supposedly to respect the couple’s privacy.
Billionaires on the guest list included LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, the world’s second richest man after Elon Musk, Apple CEO Tim Cook, fashion designer Christian Louboutin, Manchester United co-owner Avram Glazer, French-Lebanese transport exec Rodolphe Saade and Apple cofounder Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs.
Also making the cut were IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury, Boeing CEO David Calhoun, Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer and Louis Vuitton executive vice president Delphine Arnault, along with union bosses Mary Kay Henry of the SEIU and Elizabeth Shuler of the AFL-CIO.
Political leaders also received invites, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who had just been trailed by anti-trust legislation protesters nearby, and Govs. John Bell Edwards (D-La.), Ned Lamont (D-Conn.), John Carney (D-Del.), JB Pritzker (D-Ill.), Phil Murphy (D-NJ).
Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters she was “relieved” to be handing over her leadership of lower-chamber Democrats to Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Calif.). No. 2 House Republican Steve Scalise (R-La.) also chatted with reporters and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who is best-positioned to succeed Pelosi, was on the official roster.
Other Biden family members on the guest list include the president’s sister Valerie Owens and daughter Ashley Biden.
Hunter Biden is under federal investigation for possible tax fraud, money laundering, illegal foreign lobbying and allegedly lying about his drug use on a gun-purchase form.
After his father took office Hunter launched a new art career and is seeking as much as $500,000 for his novice works. The White House developed a plan for those art sales to be “anonymous” to theoretically prevent corruption, though ethics experts say that the arrangement could make matters worse.
Hunter received at least $375,000 last year for five prints at a Los Angeles art show attended by his father’s embattled nominee for ambassador to India, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. It’s unclear how many additional sales he may have made.
Biden has denied making any money from his son’s overseas business deals and the White House says he stands by his 2019 claim that he has never even discussed the enterprises with his son — despite evidence that he has interacted with Hunter and first brother James Biden’s associates from China, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Russia and Ukraine.
Hunter Biden has attended many White House events as prosecutors reportedly weigh criminal charges.
The first son attended the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony Wednesday after returning to Washington on Sunday from a six-day Biden family vacation on Nantucket. He was at the White House Nov. 19 for his daughter’s wedding and reappeared at the traditional turkey pardon Nov. 21 before traveling the next day to the Massachusetts island with his dad.
Attorney General Merrick Garland has resisted calls to appoint a special counsel to insulate the ongoing Hunter Biden investigation from political pressure — despite naming a special counsel Nov. 18 to oversee a pair of investigations into former President Donald Trump.