Biden will receive Obama’s White House portrait ceremony in September Trump shunned

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden will receive former Presidents Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at the White House in early September to unveil their official White House portraits, according to an Obama spokesman.

The traditional East Room ceremony at which the Obamas’ portraits were unveiled, usually a moment when the incumbent president and first lady celebrate their immediate predecessors, was postponed given the bitter, estranged relationship between the two men during what was then President Donald Trump was in office.

Because of the Covid pandemic, the event was further delayed after Biden took office last year. It usually takes place indoors in the East Room of the White House.

The Obamas are scheduled to appear with Biden and First Lady Jill Biden on September 7, the Obama spokesman said Thursday. At this time, the artists who painted the former first couple will also be revealed, as has been the tradition for unveiling presidential portraits since the ritual began decades ago.

The event marks Michelle Obama’s first return to the White House since January 20, 2017.

Official portraits of White House presidents and first ladies are separate from those that hang in Washington’s National Portrait Gallery, where the Obamas unveiled theirs in February 2018.

The process is facilitated by the privately funded White House Historical Association. Once a President and First Lady have chosen their artist or artists, the association negotiates a contract that includes a confidentiality agreement that keeps the identity of the artist and details of the portrait secret.

Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, said portraits of the two presidents who immediately preceded Obama — George W. Bush and Bill Clinton — hang just inside the White House on the first floor. Obama’s portrait would traditionally be in this area, while Clinton would move to a different location on the same level of the White House.

“It’s a special moment. These are things that will become part of the White House for years and years and years to come,” McLaurin said. “This is an old and common tradition, but it is important in the history of the White House to keep it.”

When Trump and former first lady Melania Trump could have their portraits unveiled at the White House seems highly unlikely while Biden is in office. And Trump could run for the presidency again, so his portrait may not be complete for some time.

“You are aware of the process, and the process is ongoing,” McLaurin said of the Trumps. “I would say it’s in the early stages.”

The East Room portrait unveiling ceremony has traditionally been a non-partisan affair. The Obamas welcomed George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush in 2012 for their

“We may have our political differences,” Obama said at the time, “but the presidency goes beyond those differences.”

That was not the case with Obama and Trump. None of the Presidents were interested in attending such an event. However, Biden said during the 2020 campaign that he looks forward to hosting the event for Obama, his former boss, should he win the White House.

Obama’s portrait is to be displayed alongside his predecessors on the first floor of the White House residence.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-host-obamas-white-house-portrait-ceremony-trump-shunned-rcna40493 Biden will receive Obama’s White House portrait ceremony in September Trump shunned

Fry Electronics Team

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