President Trump is no dewy-eyed debutante, but Sunday marked his coming-out party.
The noted homebody — since coming to Washington, he has socialized only at the White House and at Trump-branded properties — attended his first big outing amid the city’s social and philanthropic crowd, the annual gala raising money for Ford’s Theatre, the historic venue where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated.
Trump and his wife, Melania, hosted a warm-up reception before a show at the downtown theater, which marked the return of a tradition that dates back to the Carter administration. (“The President and Mrs. Trump request the pleasure of your attendance…” read the invite to the late-afternoon event). Typically, the president hosts the black-tie gathering, which draws a crowd heavy on CEOs, lawmakers and the city’s professional-partying class. So important is the exclusive mingle for donors at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., that when the Obamas weren’t available for last year’s shindig, the theater canceled the whole evening.
“I am proud to continue the tradition in honor of such a historic and cherished landmark,” Melania Trump said in a statement.
The first couple — she in a drapey champagne-colored Monique Lhuillier gown; he in a tux — then attended a performance at the theater, in what was their first foray into the wilds of social Washington. At the gala, the president made remarks about the terrorist attack in London in which seven people were killed. Of the theater, he sounded a rare bipartisan note. “It’s a place where Americans of all backgrounds, from all parts, all over the world, from both parties — can you believe that, from both parties; this may be one of the few times we unite; but we’ll get there, you watch — can come together and enjoy the arts in unity and in peace,” Trump told the well-heeled crowd that included Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence, Sens. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.