Former United States President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, have returned to the White House for a day to participate in the unveiling ceremony of their official portraits with the presence of the current president, Joe Biden, and his wife, Jill.
Portraits of the country’s presidents and first ladies hang throughout the halls and rooms of the White House. Normally, the former president returns to the building during the mandate of his successor for the ceremony in which the paintings are inaugurated, but this was not carried out during the presidency of Donald Trump.
An Obama spokesman did not want to comment on the timing of the ceremony, according to the Reuters agency. Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, in charge of the portraits, explained that there is no established process in this matter.
The Obamas’ will be the first such ceremony in 10 years, when Obama invited George W. Bush and his wife, Laura Bush. For his part, Bush invited the Clintons in 2004 and the Clintons did the same with George HW Bush and Barbara Bush in 1995. However, there have been special cases such as Kennedy, whose portrait was not unveiled until Nixon’s presidency, as NPR points out.
“Welcome home,” Biden said during the ceremony. “Nothing could have prepared me more to be president of the United States than to be by your side for eight years,” he added before reviewing what he considers some of the most important achievements of his presidency, especially health. “When future generations walk these halls and see these portraits, I hope they walk away with the feeling that if we could do remarkable things, so can they,” said Barack Obama. “Traditions like these matter to everyone who participates in and sees our democracy,” said Michelle Obama.
As reported by McLaurin in statements collected by NPRTrump has started talks with the White House Historical Association and an artist has been chosen to do the portraits. “He takes his time, but it will end, as it has happened with everyone,” said McLaurin.