Thomas Phippen, DCNF
The White House released official portraits of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence Tuesday, allowing the government to hang the pictures in federal offices across the country more than nine months after Trump’s inauguration.
The pair of pictures, produced by the Government Publishing Office (GPO), show Trump and Pence in front of an American flag. Trump is in a blue tie, and Pence wears a red tie. The GPO will send the portraits to more than 7,000 government office buildings, where they usually hang in the lobby along with a picture of the department’s secretary.
WH posts official portraits. Being distributed to federal buildings: pic.twitter.com/p9qr28wZdH
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 31, 2017
Unlike the campaign photos and the first White House portrait of Trump, released the day after his Jan. 20 inauguration, Trump is smiling in the new picture, an apparent departure from the stern look of the former reality TV host.
It’s unclear why it took more than nine months for the White House to finish the portraits, even though past presidents have produced and disseminated the official visage of the nation’s chief executive within just a couple months of taking office.
“GPO is standing by to reproduce copies of the president and the vice president’s photos for official use in federal facilities and will do so as soon as the official photo files are provided to us,” agency spokesman Gary Somerset told The Washington Post in September.
Former President Barack Obama sent his portrait out to federal agencies within three months of his administration in 2009, and former President Bill Clinton had his portrait sent out by June 1993.
Earlier this year, some found it odd that Trump had not sent out his image to be displayed in federal buildings.
“You would think Trump would want his portrait spattered all over federal buildings,” Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian and professor at Rice University, told The Washington Post in September.
The delayed arrival of the portraits meant indicated something about Trump’s disdain for federal government, according to NBC News’s historian Michael Beschloss. “This act is intended to convey, deliberately or not, a president who wants to stand at one remove from his own federal government,” Beschloss said.
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