Trump toasts diplomats at dinner in Washington

US President-elect Donald Trump attends a private black-tie dinner in Washington, DC ahead of the inauguration.

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - President-elect Donald Trump attended a private black-tie dinner Tuesday (Dec 17) in Washington DC.

The Chairman's Global Dinner took place at the Andrew W Mellon auditorium and was an invitation-only event aimed at introducing foreign diplomats to the incoming administration.

Trump told the crowd there were 147 diplomats and ambassadors in the room.

"I want to thank you all for being here. We have great respect for your countries. We have great respect for our world," Trump told the crowd.

He added that his choice for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, was also in attendance, joking that he was finding his Senate confirmation tougher than his days as chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil Corp when he could cut deals with foreign nations.

Trump said he was proud of the way Tillerson handled himself during his confirmation hearings that took place last week.

"I think it's tougher than he thought. He figured, you know, he's lived this charmed life. He goes into this country and takes their oil, goes into another country.. It's tough dealing with these politicians, right? He's going to be so incredible and I'm very proud of him. I'm very proud of everybody, the cabinet members. We have put together a team the likes that have never been assembled before," Trump said.

Trump left the event shortly after his remarks and returned to New York City. 

Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Jan 20.