Donald Trump is refusing to unveil the Obamas’ portraits in the White House

Barak Obama and Donald Trump arrive for the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump

I’m showing my age – I guess? – but I remember so clearly how *nice* George W. Bush was to Bill and Hillary Clinton. During the Bush administration, it was widely assumed that Dubya shared his father’s general distaste for all things Clinton, but in 2004, Bush did two big, congenial appearances for the Clintons. One was the unveiling of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s portraits at the White House, then in November 2004, Bush attended and spoke at the opening of the Clinton Presidential Library. In both speeches, Bush showed an unexpected warmth towards both Clintons, and the relations between the two families improved significantly in the years that followed. The Bushes even joked that Bush Senior treated Bill like a son.

My point? When you get to the “Presidents Club” elite level, it costs nothing to be warm and congenial and show respect to other presidents. Barack Obama also showed a great deal of respect to the Bushes and vice versa. But not Donald Trump. Donald Trump is so petty, so disgusting, so f–king tacky that he is refusing to host a portrait-unveiling for the Obamas at the White House. This motherf–king Nazi, I can’t.

It’s been a White House tradition for decades: A first-term president hosts a ceremony in the East Room for the unveiling of the official portrait of his immediate predecessor that will hang in the halls of the White House for posterity. Republican presidents have done it for Democratic presidents, and vice versa — even when one of them ascended to the White House by defeating or sharply criticizing the other.

“We may have our differences politically,” President Barack Obama said when he hosted former President George W. Bush for his portrait unveiling in 2012, “but the presidency transcends those differences.”

Yet this modern ritual won’t be taking place between Obama and President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. And if Trump wins a second term in November, it could be 2025 before Obama returns to the White House to see his portrait displayed among every U.S. president from George Washington to Bush. Trump is unconcerned about shunning yet another presidential custom, and he has attacked Obama to an extent no other president has done to a predecessor. Most recently he’s made unfounded accusations that Obama committed an unspecified crime.

Obama, for his part, has no interest in participating in the post-presidency rite of passage so long as Trump is in office, the people familiar with the matter said.

It’s too soon to know whether the absence of the uniquely harmonious occasion, when presidents set aside political differences, is just a reflection of a singular dynamic between two presidents whose differences have increasingly been aired in full view or whether it is symbolic of a broader, bitter political era. But it’s nonetheless a telling snapshot of American politics in 2020.

[From NBC News]

Do you think that Obama was really like “nah, I’m good” or was he curious about whether Trump would invite him? I think Obama is so cool-tempered that he would have found any situation could work in his favor. With this situation, Obama gets to just sit back and watch Trump be a giant petty baby. Trump, meanwhile, gets to play it up to his Nazi base because he denied the first black president his White House portrait ceremony.

Look at how gracious Obama was to the Bushes for their portrait unveilings.

Former US President Barack Obama participates at the World Travel & Tourism Council in Seville

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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90 Responses to “Donald Trump is refusing to unveil the Obamas’ portraits in the White House”

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  1. Seraphina says:

    Kaiser, he is no gentleman and thus cannot act like one.

  2. Ange says:

    Some say that Obama should’ve got Bush and co prosecuted for war crimes.

  3. ABritGuest says:

    President Petty

    • SomeChick says:

      In B4 me, ABritGirl. I was going to put scare quotes around “President” but we all already know how fake he is. Bigly, bigly fake. The fakest fake!

    • C-Shell says:

      I forget who it is who consistently refers to Trump on Twitter as “Pettydent Trump,” but it cracks me up every time. 😂

      • Prayer Warrior says:

        My favourite so far is “BLOTUS” Biggest Liar of the United States

      • phaedra7 says:

        @C-Shell and Prayer Warrior–> POTASS is also another nickname to describe him; because IMPHO, Take-A-💩 Drump is no POTUS to me. 😈

  4. Michael says:

    Hopefully the Biden Presidency can host both the portrait unveiling and get Obama that Presidential Medal of Freedom he so richly deserves. That would be far more fun anyway.

  5. grabbyhands says:

    I feel like Obama probably saw this coming a mile away and is like ::::kanye shrug::::.

    As you say, this panders to 45’s base and will not be a shock to anyone else. Honestly, if we make it to and then successfully through the November election, I wouldn’t be surprised if his team doesn’t let rats or cockroaches loose on their way out just to keep anyone else from living there immediately.

  6. Lightpurple says:

    It will be interesting to see whether Trump attends Biden’s inauguration.

    • Ange says:

      Indeed. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t

      • (TheOG) jan90067 says:

        Hopefully, he’ll be charged by SDNY immediately and be in a holding cell somewhere (no bail-flight risk). Him, all his crotch-fruit, and most of the Senate.

    • Ash says:

      Or how future President Biden* deals with the portrait hanging of his predecessor…

      *Please God let this be true.

      • Esmom says:

        My eyes skipped over “portrait” in your sentence and read “deals with the hanging of his predecessor.” Ha.

      • Ash says:

        Hahaha, this legitimately made me lol, love it.

      • Jaded says:

        He’ll put a big old red bullseye on it and use it as a dartboard.

      • Lucky Charm says:

        President Biden will probably unveil the Obamas portraits and skip right over the Trumps. Then the next president will host the Bidens, and so on, and the only place the Trumps pictures will hang is on the “Most Wanted” in the post offices.

      • clomo says:

        I’m not even crazy about Biden compared to Obama but I have never wanted anybody to win an election more than him. I have duel citizenship with England and if Trump wins again am seriously thinking land of Brexit and Meghan meanies in all its chaos might be more palatable. I’ve been repulsed by Trump since the Robin Leach days. Sometimes I even feel like liquidating all my assets to go live on a remote island in the South Pacific these days.

    • KellyRyan says:

      I expect Drumpf to Twitter non-stop, disinformation and distraction. I’ve noticed CNN has picked up these two words and are using them frequently to describe his behavior.

    • Louisa says:

      Not a chance he attends the inauguration. He’ll still be claiming that the election was “fixed” and that he is the rightful winner.

    • Lightpurple says:

      This morning, Trump is threatening to withhold all funding from several states because they dared to send out information to voters on how to arrange to vote by mail. One of those states just had two dams break last night and parts of it are, quite literally, under 9 feet of water with people losing homes, businesses, and possibly lives. He is threatening to withhold funding that would help those flood victims right as they are struggling not to drown.

      This man is threatening a coup, right now, right this very morning.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Which is why California and New York should be watching this very carefully and considering exactly how much leverage withholding their federal tax revenue would give them. If states don’t consider seriously utilizing their economic power, we’re going to be looking at the reality of a far more violent clash.

      • jwoolman says:

        Trump has been threatening civil war and “you will all be poor” if he doesn’t win re-election for at least a year. He also has been consumer testing the idea of more than two terms ever since Xi was made President for Life in China.

        He refused to say he would accept the results of the 2016 election unless he won. Close to Election Day, he was claiming the Democrats were rigging the election. He was setting up for a big fuss if he didn’t win.

        Then he was in a state of shock when he did win – since he really hadn’t planned on winning, it was a big publicity stunt to get more $ for a tv show. So he may not have known about the machine Democrat to Republican vote shifting, although I’m sure Mitch McConnell knew. The Republicans went to court to shut down recounts in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan when millions of dollars were raised on Thanksgiving weekend to pay for the recounts. We need to make that illegal.

        Anyway, the margin that gave Trump the electoral votes was only 75,000 votes total over three states. That’s within machine error. Hillary won three million more real votes than Trump. Only about half the registered voters voted, and that has to change if we want to outrun the hackers.

      • Jay (the Canadian one) says:

        @JWOOLMAN if he set up the prospect of more than two terms, he could end up facing Obama in an election. It would be hilarious to see Obama defeat him by a landslide.

    • jwoolman says:

      If this coronavirus surges next Fall and Winter, it may have to be a virtual inauguration. The premature lifting of restrictions is likely to cause us a lot of trouble in a few weeks (lag times for symptoms of infection and deaths). We will see what happens by mid to late June and then in August.

  7. Darla says:

    I differ on most takes on this story. I don’t believe for a moment President Obama would ever attend this. trump is calling him a criminal and trying to get Barr to prosecute him. Barr IS going to try and prosecute members of OBama’s administration, the cleanest one in recent history btw. It would be insane for Obama to attend and normalize the thug who is trying to imprison him and his administration. He wouldn’t do it. I don’t believe he would do it.

    • Becks1 says:

      I agree. I think Trump isn’t going to hold the ceremony because he’s been told Obama wont attend. So its like a “you cant fire me, I QUIT!” scenario.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        yeah, that’s his MO…and what’s funny (I guess?) is that, IF 45 had invited O, and O turned him down, then he would have come off as “the bigger person” and O would have been depicted as petty for not going. but all this does is (as noted) pander to his base and make everyone else notice, yet again, how petty and jealous he is of O.

        Let me be clear here: I IN NO WAY think that O is being petty. I think indicating he’s not interested in having this honor given to him by 45 is completely the right thing to do. but my bigger point is that, even when 45 has the opportunity to make himself look like the better person, he STILLS makes the wrong choice, the one that satisfies his need to be mean and put the other person down.

      • molly says:

        It’s Steph Curry/Golden State/U Bum all over again. God, he’s pathetic and small.

    • Prayer Warrior says:


      • phaedra7 says:

        @molly–> Don’t forget his jumping on the NFL Athlete Kapernick “Kneeling On One Knee”, insulting both Meghan Markle (calling her nasty and rude) and Don Lemon of CNN, still standing by his 1980s remarks about the Central Park Five, his son’s calling African-American female politicians “Beasts”, Take-A-💩’s bullying tactics towards Congresswomen of Color (AOC, etc.) and labelling them “The Squad” and oh sooo much damn more from that hole in his face which is his mouth!🤬🤮

  8. Truthiness says:

    There was an assassination attempt on Senior George Bush during Clinton’s presidency. Despite campaigning hard against Bush, Clinton sent 23 Tomahawk missiles to strike back even though Clinton was pretty war averse. Nowadays if someone tried to kill Obama, Trump would say there was good people on both sides.

    • Mellie says:

      No kidding. I’d be scared to death to go into that WH if I was President Obama…no F#$king way…hard pass.

  9. Jay says:

    I hope the Obamas see it as a win that they don’t have to take time out of their successful campaigning and organizing schedule to go stand next to this terrible bloviating conman. They have better things to do!

    It tells you a lot about how Trump and his so-called followers see him that they interpreted Obama’s mild “folks in power don’t have all the answers” to be directed at their president. I believe that’s called “telling on yourself”:)

  10. Allie says:

    In case a Democrat follows Trump at some point it will be interesting to see the unveiling of his portrait, too. It’s like a caricature. There will be a line of portraits of real, former statesmen (no matter if you agreed with them politically) and Trump.

    • jwoolman says:

      I’m hoping Trump will be so clearly disgraced by that time and quietly overlooked in the portrait tradition. He will be facing many state indictments that cannot be pardoned.

      I would hope that Biden would not grant any federal pardons for Trump and his minions but rather let the judicial system decide what to do. That is what Ford should have done. He should never have granted a blanket pardon in advance (if that was even legal) to Nixon but just kept the matter in the judicial branch if the proper authorities decided to pursue anything. Presidents are not above the law.

      • Jaded says:

        It was heartening to see that the class action lawsuit is going ahead in SDNY regarding the trump family’s pyramid scheme and attending federal charges which include “racketeering and conspiracy to racketeer” claims. This will likely go ahead in public and any information that can further tarnish that vile family is a good thing leading into an election.

  11. Abby says:

    He is just the pettiest man I’ve ever encountered. An embarrassment to his office.

    • shanaynay says:

      He’s an embarrassment to the whole country.

      • phaedra7 says:


      • Christin says:

        To humanity itself.

        I’ve never met anyone with such a combination of negative traits. Not an ounce of selflessness or empathy is apparent.

        At least it’s made me see the most irritating people I’ve known in a somewhat better light.

  12. Aang says:

    Bush is a war criminal. Obama let the Wall Street fraudsters off the hook and had a drone problem. Both administrations have dark chapters. But I believe both men are fundamentally decent on a personal level and felt a real responsibility to the US and its institutions and ideals. trump serves nothing but his own ego and whims. This kind of petty bs would be amusing if I weren’t terrified for the survival of our country and by extension western democracy.

  13. WilliamJoelene says:

    It’s instructive when Presidents are collegiate in this way. I think Trump will win the next election. The same way he won the last one. The US should thank its lucky stars fur the two term limit.

    • Prayer Warrior says:

      I have the terrible, hopeless sense that he will win again also

      • Allie says:

        Me, too. It’s bad enough he won the first time. After almost four years of him making a fool of himself and the USA in the Oval Office it’s a mystery to me why he still has such high approval numbers. He should be somewhere below -10% or so. No matter how bad he F’s up he is always at least around 40%.

      • jwoolman says:

        Push now for absentee ballots for all. Indiana has them for the primary election this year, no need to check off any reason on the list due to the safety issues during the pandemic. Things are going to be so uncertain in November that there is good reason to do the same for the general election. The absentee ballot system is already set up and obviously they can handle larger numbers of voters.

        Paper ballots will be much harder to manipulate than machine votes if the Democrats do their job on bipartisan monitoring. Republicans have been selectively shifting machine votes from Democrats to Republicans at least since 2004. They still were doing it in 2018 midterms. The stakes are even higher now and the 2020 General election is in even more jeopardy.

        The Democrats can send out the applications for an absentee ballot to everybody if they want. The locals do that for everyone over 65 (who are automatically eligible to vote absentee here). The applications need to be returned to the right place, although I think the local Democrats can actually receive and deliver them. There are strict rules about who can do the delivering.

    • Louisa says:

      If he wins the next election there will no longer be a two term limit. Our country as we know it, will be over.

      • Swack says:

        He would have to change the constitution and that’s not as easy as he thinks it is. Can’t do it by executive order.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      If the economy is like it is now, I don’t think he will win.

      He has his base of supporters that will never leave him, but A LOT of moderates took a chance on him in 2016. They won’t make that mistake again. The elections in 2018 showed how much he has lost in suburbs.

      • NatureLover says:

        I agree. He is also losing a great deal of suburban moms which were in his court in the past, but that has changed and I don’t think at this point he will be able to win them over again. He has also lost a lot of farmers as well given his complete disastrous trade talks with China and farmers are losing their farms and losing their crops, even with the bail out. I hope that Obama keeps making public statements because Drumpf becomes unhinged and will increase his pubic briefings which in the past was costing him in the polls. Drumpf can’t stand the fact that Obama is such a well respected president as it was apparent in his first few weeks after demanding that his inauguration attendance was the largest in history. He dragged this topic on for weeks and became unhinged again when they plastered side by side pictures between his and Obama’s. What an absolute disaster he is and he has destroyed this country and our once stellar reputation around the world. I never thought that average Americans were this stupid to elect an unqualified reality show host, but I have been proven wrong. I have ceased contact with old friends that are Drumpf supporters because they refuse to hold an intellectual conversation.

  14. TeamAwesome says:

    That place is crawling with germs so who would want to step a toe in anyway?
    I saw a few people post an Obama portrait yesterday, but I can’t find if it is this official one. It looked a lot like Kennedy’s portrait and it featured the tan suit of doom, which is such an excellent dash of shade that I really want it to be true.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Obama is wearing a black suit and is surrounded by greenery in his official portrait

      • TeamAwesome says:

        That’s the one at the Smithsonian, correct? Very vibrant? This portrait I saw mentioned as the new White House portrait was much more muted. I can’t find it anywhere else though, so it may be a pipe dream.

      • Esmom says:

        Yes, that’s in the Smithsonian along with the amazing portrait of Michelle by Amy Sherald but my understanding is they have a more “traditional” portrait of Obama for the White House gallery.

    • JanetDR says:

      It was floating around on Facebook, I got a chuckle out of the tan suit. I don’t want President Obama anywhere near the WH, so I don’t care right now.

  15. Chrissy says:

    Even if Obama personally wanted to go, if only to continue the tradition, I think Michelle would absolutely refuse to attend and Barak would refuse to attend without her. What sane, intelligent person would want to be in the lying Orange Turd’s presence at any time? He fouls everything he’s involved in.

    • BUBS says:

      Yeah, I agree. The Obama’s won’t want to be anywhere near 45…
      PS: I know some people seem resigned to the possibility that Trump could win again in November; but I would love to encourage everyone to think only positive thoughts. 45 can be beaten…hopefully, he will. I can’t even begin to imagine another 4 years of this hell! Please people, go out and VOTE in November. Vote…vote blue!!!

      • Allie says:

        You can go and vote blue and still be pessimistic.

      • Faye G says:

        I agree, we need to stay optimistic. There have been one term president before, it can happen again! I believe in Biden.

  16. Frida_K says:

    This, and I quote, “It’s too soon to know whether the absence of the uniquely harmonious occasion, when presidents set aside political differences, is just a reflection of a singular dynamic between two presidents …” implies that there is equal cause between President Obama and IMPOTUS for the divide.

    It is not “a singular dynamic between two presidents.” It is that one is a narcissistic sociopath who wants to chest thump for his racist base by refusing to honor his black predecessor in a public ceremony. That, and I think he is afraid of President Obama. And it makes him rage, I think, when the world comments on how Melanoma smiles in his presence.

    Too many reasons to count as to why IMPOTUS is incapable of behaving in a mature, professional, collegial manner. But it’s not a mutual dynamic as implied by the above quote. This is all on the orange occupant of the White House.

  17. Dee says:

    #BeBest (eyeroll)

    • phaedra7 says:

      and that creature she (Melania) calls her “husband” is the biggest bully since Hitler. Be best that he’s voted out of the WH (also get that place cleaned and sanitized to the hilt before Biden moves in. . . . . . . . ) 😈

  18. shanaynay says:

    Disrespectful racist f**k!!!!!!!!!

  19. Teebee says:

    His base loves this behaviour. It goads trump on to be even more egregious with his disrespectful actions. The acceleration of unhinged antics coming from trump is truly head-spinning. The fact that so many people have died from this virus and the headlines change by the second to whatever vomit has just spewed from trump’s pie-hole proves that the death toll will never be given the gravity and serious consideration it deserves. In an sense trump has won the PR war. The vicious circle of trump’s ability to spin and deflect has firmly been established and like a runaway train I don’t see it slowing or stopping anytime soon.

  20. ChillyWilly says:

    On top of being evil and painfully stupid, Trump is also completely devoid of any class or grace.
    The Obamas are so beautiful and good…I miss them so much.

  21. J ferber says:

    Swack, can he change the Constitution by tweet? I’m sure some “scholars” would say yes. A few weeks ago drumpfth said and I quote, “We may have to supersede the Constitution.” This bitch dictator.

  22. Boxy Lady says:

    I wonder if when Trump dies, will the surviving former presidents and first ladies shun his funeral or will they attend to kind of “dance on his grave?”

    • phaedra7 says:


    • Lightpurple says:

      When Nixon died, he received a state funeral attended by all five living Presidents. It’s to pay tribute to the Office.

      • Boxy Lady says:

        Nixon also had the good sense to stay silent and out of the public eye for 20 years after resigning in disgrace. I cannot picture Trump doing that.

  23. Kebbie says:

    I’m so fucking ready to be done with Trump. My god if he wins in November…I can’t do another four years of listening to and seeing this piece of shit.

    • Darla says:

      I’m with you.

    • Valerie says:

      idk if he will. Most of his supporters might die before then, if they insist on flouting policy and breathing in each other’s faces. Or if they go to one of his precious rallies. I’m not wishing death upon anyone, but if you willingly expose yourself to any kind of illness, particularly one that is potentially deadly, you have to accept that that might be the outcome.

  24. My3cents says:

    I hope the only portraits we get to see of this orange racist petty baby are those when he’s locked up behind bars.

  25. AnnaKist says:

    Nawww. Someone please change the big baby’s nappy, burp the shite, give him his dummy an put him to bed. No one needs to hear any more from him. 🍼🛌🧷

  26. Dr Mrs The Monarch says:

    Trump’s goal has been to undo and erase everything the Obamas did. Those crooks would burn the White House down before letting anyone hang up a portrait of either Barack or Michelle.

  27. Valerie says:

    Crybaby loser. Let me be the first to say that I don’t think Obama is king — He didn’t do everything perfectly, and he has, like every president, his faults. But he was not *this* bad.

  28. Busyann says:

    I saw this whole segment on MSNBC (CNN?) yesterday where they were basically saying this is bigger than Obama not having the portrait ceremony under Bigly. Apparently the President’s Club is pretty tight but they’re not expecting to include Bigly once he’s out of office and Bigly knows and he’s like, “well, fine, I don’t want to be in that club anyway.”

    I also have to say I really am missing the Dubya years. We were so innocent and naive back then. For all of his faults, I’ve always had a fondness for him. He actually seems like a good guy. The problems with his presidency were rooted with Cheney, if I recall correctly.

    • Soupie says:

      And Rove. ROVE, Rummy and who’s that guy they tried to get to sign something while he was in the hospital? That singing guy? Too lazy to look it up. He was the lesser of all those treasonous b*stards.

      What astounds me is that then and now everything was so completely oout in the open, obvious and discernible. All one had to do was look with eyes that see, which too many people in this country don’t do.

  29. The Recluse says:

    Consider this a reminder, folks, they can’t steal the next election and continue these obscenities if we come out in forces too great to cheat. VOTE. Everything depends on it.

  30. Jana says:

    Just when I thought I couldn’t hate Trump more than I already do, he pulls some shit like this and I realize my hatred is never-ending.

  31. KellyRyan says:

    All California voters will be sent vote by mail ballots, 20.6 million. Add blowhard as another description of Dumpty.

  32. Marni112 says:

    I truly, truly hope anyone other than Trump wins the next election but I just don’t see it happening.Donald is the master of deflection and manipulation .He has now managed to shift his poor handling of Covid to the fault of the Chinese, the fault of the CDC, the fault of States as being unprepared , the fault of the Dems because of the impeachment process …the list goes on..Meanwhile ,while everyone is distracted he does as he pleases and erodes the democratic system -like firing of the IGs. For sure voting will be changed to eradicate or reduce voting by mail..So with all this, a gutless GOP and with Russia’ s continued help, he’s in.