Former White House Florist: State Visit Revealed First Lady Melania Trump’s ‘Formidable’ Cultural Diplomacy

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Former White House Florist: State Visit Revealed First Lady Melania Trump’s ‘Formidable’ Cultural Diplomacy

Laura Dowling took in the details of the Trump administration’s first official state visit and dinner, from the French-infused culinary delicacies and floral arrangements to the operatic offering staged to entertain French President Emmanuel Macron, his wife Brigitte, and other guests. Dowling’s perspective on what unfolded inside the White House is one reserved for an insider. Dowling served as the chief floral designer at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue from 2009 to 2015. She’s also the author of two books; Floral Diplomacy at the White House and A White House Christmas . For Dowling, the state visit and dinner were not only an impressive show of what she calls “cultural diplomacy” but also a shining moment for first lady Melania Trump, who single-handedly planned every detail of the ceremonial meal. Dowling was so inspired, she wrote a commentary about it and shared it with Breitbart News. “For many observers, the diplomatic tour de force on display during this week’s France state visit was a master class in the subtle and fine art of international diplomacy,” Dowling wrote. “Even die-hard critics seemed to pause for a moment to admire the multi-faceted diplomatic itinerary that went off without a hitch.” Dowling noted that when the Macrons arrived at Joint Base Andrews, they were given a bouquet of purple irises — the national flower of France. “At the intimate state dinner, meticulously planned and executed by the first lady herself without a coterie of consultants and planners, guests reveled in the elegant setting of a candle-lit State Dining Room,” Dowling wrote. “In the manner of Jacqueline Kennedy, the first lady planned and executed an impressive series of symbolic activities that demonstrated the power of style and cultural diplomacy when carried out on the high profile White House stage.” “There is inherent meaning in the symbolism surrounding the White House and the ability to bring citizens together around shared values and ideals,” Dowling wrote. “While individual details of a state visit may seem innocuous or even frivolous, including the selection of flowers, linens, china, and menu for the dinner, they actually have much greater significance.” “The details roll up into a larger narrative that fosters a dialogue between leaders of nations and their citizens, highlighting common bonds and a shared cultural heritage,” Dowling wrote. “A White House state dinner is perhaps one D.C. ritual that allows us to dial back political vitriol and celebrate time-honored traditions in a non-partisan way.” Dowling noted that the state dinner also reflects how the first lady — not bringing the usual political pedigree to the White House — is making her mark in her role as the nation’s highest-ranking hostess. “Even before the state dinner, there were clues that it would be a departure from previous years,” Dowling wrote. “Pared down and pared back, the first lady wanted the focus to be on the diplomatic tasks at hand.” “A smaller guest list, a streamlined menu and skillful deployment of the White House collection (rather than the use of rental […]