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State Dinner at White House: Why Obama Slipped Away Before Ruto & Biden’s Toast

State Dinner at White House: Why Obama Slipped Away Before Ruto & Biden’s Toast

U.S. President Joe Biden hosted President William Ruto of Kenya for a State Dinner on the South Lawn of the White House on May 23. This event celebrated the enduring friendship and shared values between the United States and Kenya.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s presence at the White House’s State Dinner was brief yet significant, sparking curiosity and speculation about his departure.

While the occasion aimed to honor the strong bonds between the United States and Kenya, Obama’s early exit raised questions about the underlying reasons.

Despite not being on the list of 500 guests shared by the White House, Obama surprised many by attending in a black and white tuxedo, garnering attention from U.S. media outlets.

According to his office, Obama briefly attended a reception in the White House Blue Room and made a quick appearance in the dinner area, engaging with some guests for about 10 minutes before slipping out through a side door before President Biden and President Ruto could deliver their remarks.


President Biden acknowledged Obama’s brief presence during his speech, expressing gratitude for his attendance and mentioning their earlier meeting.

The reasons behind Obama’s departure from the White House State Dinner remain unclear, though several factors could have influenced his decision.

Obama’s involvement in Biden’s re-election campaign is well-known, and his presence at the dinner, along with other prominent figures, added star power to the event.

However, Obama’s early departure may suggest a desire to support Biden without overshadowing the current administration’s efforts.

His brief appearance allowed him to acknowledge and honor the Kenyan delegation without diverting too much attention from the primary purpose of the evening.

Personal commitments or strategic political considerations may have also played a role in Obama’s decision to leave early.

The White House State Dinner began with President Biden warmly welcoming President Ruto and his delegation, emphasizing the historical ties between the two nations and their shared values.

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Reflecting on past interactions, Biden highlighted the foundational beliefs that unite the United States and Kenya, mentioning President Carter’s pioneering efforts in hosting a Kenyan president.

Biden concluded his remarks with an Irish toast, symbolizing goodwill and enduring friendship.

President William Ruto makes a toast at the White House State Dinner in his honour on May 23, 2024.

President Ruto responded with gratitude and admiration for the American people’s hospitality, emphasizing the strong socio-economic and cultural ties between Kenya and the United States.

He praised the warmth and generosity experienced during their visit and called upon the guests to celebrate the enduring friendship between the two nations.

The State Dinner at the White House reaffirmed the strong bilateral relations between Kenya and the United States, emphasizing their commitment to democracy, security, and prosperity.

State Dinner at White House: Why Obama Slipped Away Before Ruto & Biden’s Toast