Bidens will host Obamas at White House to unveil long-delayed official portraits years after Trump snub

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will host former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama next Wednesday at the White House for the traditional unveiling of their official portraits which has been delayed for years.

Traditionally, the current first couple hosts the former one to unveil their White House portraits. That did not occur under former President Trump for a myriad of reasons including bad blood between the two leaders.

The official portraits are different from the modernist pieces that the Obamas had unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in 2018 according to the Daily Mail.

The portrait of Barack Obama was created by artist Kehinde Wiley, and Michelle Obama’s portrait was painted by artist Amy Sherald. They are the first presidential portraits created by black artists and have been heavily publicized as such.

Appropriately, socialist journo Victoria Brownworth spread the word of the unveiling on Twitter.

The event honoring the Obamas was ostensibly delayed due to the pandemic.

The tradition of current presidencies holding an unveiling ceremony for the prior administration goes back decades. Lady Bird Johnson initiated the event by inviting Eleanor Roosevelt and Bess Truman to the White House, along with family and friends, for East Room ceremonies. That took place in February of 1966.

The tradition was continued as First Lady Jackie Kennedy returned to the White House after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1971 to view her husband’s portrait unveiling. Former President Richard Nixon and former First Lady Pat Nixon invited her for a private viewing.

Former President Jimmy Carter was the first president to officially host the event in 1978. He hosted former President Gerald Ford and former First Lady Betty Ford at the White House in a ceremony conducted in the East Room.

During Ronald Reagan’s time as president, there was no ceremony for Carter. The former president’s White House Communications Director Gerald Rafshoon told NBC that was likely Carter’s choice and not a snub by Reagan.

“It would probably be out of his character to want a big ceremony in Washington that soon,” Rafshoon recounted. “I would imagine he opted not to have it.”

Former President George H.W. Bush hosted the Reagans at the White House in November of 1989.

Former President Bill Clinton held a ceremony for Bush in July 1995.

Former President George W. Bush hosted the Clintons in June 2004.

Then in 2012, the Obamas invited George W. and Laura Bush to their portrait unveiling.

“We may have our differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences,” Obama commented.

Trump has never been close to Obama, Clinton, or George W. Bush. He refused to attend Biden’s 2021 inauguration where the three other former presidents were in attendance. Carter wasn’t there due to his age and health concerns.

Trump is not one to cling to tradition or to host those he does not respect.

According to the AFP, he reportedly removed portraits of former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush from the White House’s Grand Foyer, which is considered the most prominent position in the executive mansion. They were not restored until Biden took office in 2021.

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