President Trump hosted China's President Xi Jinping for a formal dinner Thursday night that has been largely overshadowed by the rain of American cruise missiles that slammed into a Syrian airbase minutes after the meal finished. The Guardian reports that before the dinner at Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Trump was involved in side discussions with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis. Around 30 guests joined Trump, Xi, and their wives for the meal, including Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon. Trump told reporters that he had "developed a friendship" during a long discussion with Xi before the meal. He joked that he had "gotten nothing, absolutely nothing" from the talk.
Unlike Xi's 2015 dinner with Barack Obama, where White House chefs blended American and Chinese cuisines, the Mar-a-Lago menu was a "safe bet" with "generally continental dishes," Quartz reports. Diners had the choice of Dover sole with new potatoes and Thumbelina carrots, or dry-aged New York strip steak with whipped potatoes and roasted root vegetables, according to a menu provided by the White House. Per the Guardian, Tomahawk missiles began to hit the Syrian base six minutes before Xi's motorcade departed from Mar-a-Lago. The Chinese leader is scheduled to return to the estate Friday. (No golf will be played during the visit, as Xi believes it represents "the excesses of capitalism.")