Barack Obama To Forgo Presidential Portrait Unveiling Until Trump Occupies The Oval Office
The official unveiling of Obama's portrait at the White House has been postponed to an indefinite date as President Trump continues to accuse him of hard to believe and vague crimes. NBC News was the first to report this unexpected end to a long tradition, wherein the first-term president hosts their predecessor at the White House to reveal an official portrait.
Insiders, familiar with the matter claim such as event wasn't slated to take place anytime soon and is unlikely to happen until Trump is in office. According to an administration official, the White House has been discussing hanging the portrait with Obama's team but an official date was never scheduled.
Journalist Kate Andersen Brower describes portrait unveiling as one of the three events that bring former presidents together, adding that the level of animosity between Trump, who is the sitting president and his predecessor, Obama is unprecedented in modern history. Brower, the Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump author opened up about reports suggesting Trump has refused to unveil Obama's portrait at the White House during an interview with CNN.
Since the inauguration, Trump met Obama only once in person in Dec. 2018 at the funeral for George H.W. Bush. After shaking hands briefly before the service started, they hardly interacted for the rest of the day. During an Oval Office interview, Brower asked the president whether he would attend the opening ceremony of Obama's presidential library, which is years away.
Responding to Brower's question, Trump said he doesn't expect Obama to invite him, adding that there is no reason why he should invite him.
One of the ceremonies of the President's Club is the unveiling of the portrait in the White House East Room, which traditionally takes place during the new president's first term. In 2012, Obama hosted his predecessor, George W. Bush, who hosted Bill Clinton in 2004. Likewise, Clinton hosted George H.W. Bush back in 1995, while the elder Bush hosted his precursor Ronald Reagan in 1989.
Moreover, first ladies also attend these ceremonies and their portraits are unveiled too. Before Bush's portrait was unveiled, first lady Michelle Obama told her aides to ensure the event, as well as the meal, was nothing short of perfect, Brower wrote in her book. Michelle directed the aides to arrange a long table in the Red Room, on the State Floor, for the former president's extended family.