Tags: Barack Obama | Donald Trump | White House | portrait ceremony

Trump-Obama Rift Could Jeopardize White House Portrait Ceremony

trump and obama in black coats and suits with trump wearing a red tie and obama wearing blue
President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama (Jack Gruber/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 May 2020 06:56 AM

An ongoing political divide between President Donald Trump and his predecessor former President Barack Obama may put a hold on a decades long tradition, the White House portrait ceremony.

The tradition brings the former president back to the East Room for an unveiling ceremony of a portrait of the president that will hang in the White House. The event is hosted by the current president. 

The growing rift between Trump and Obama may jeopardize the ceremony's occurrence, NBC News reports.

Sources familiar with the topic told the network the ritual likely won’t happen. Both camps report not wanting to attend the event, but neither have made an official comment. 

"You've got a president who's talking about putting the previous one in legal jeopardy, to put it nicely. We have not seen a situation like that in history," presidential historian Michael Beschloss told NBC News. "It takes antipathy of a new president for a predecessor to a new level.”

In addition to the president and his predecessor attending the portrait ceremony, the First Lady and her predecessor attend as well. 

A president begins the process of getting a White House portrait near the end of the term or soon after it ends. The portrait typically takes a few years to complete, according to NBC. The president selects an artist, who signs a confidentiality agreement so the artist's identity and details of the portrait are kept under wraps. 

The Obamas selected an artist in 2017, according to sources. Once the portraits are approved, the White House curator helps coordinate the unveiling. 

The portraits are separate from the ones that hang in the National Portrait Gallery.

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An ongoing political divide between President Donald Trump and his predecessor former President Barack Obama may put a hold on a decades long tradition, the White House portrait ceremony. The tradition brings the former president back to the East Room for an unveiling...
White House, portrait ceremony
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2020-56-19
Tuesday, 19 May 2020 06:56 AM
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