Obamas return to the White House to unveil official portraits

APTOPIX Biden Obama Portraits
Posted at 7:12 AM, Sep 07, 2022

For decades, presidents and first ladies have invited their predecessors back to the White House for the unveiling of their presidential and first lady portraits.

But during the presidency of Donald Trump, the tradition was interrupted.

On Wednesday, after a longer-than-expected wait, former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama had their White House portraits unveiled at a ceremony hosted by President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden.

For President Biden, it was an opportunity to pay homage to his two-time running mate when he campaigned for vice president.

“Over the course of their eight years together in office, a close partnership between the two men grew through the highs and lows of the job and of life,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “President Biden and Dr. Biden are honored to have former President Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama back to the White House for the unveiling of their portraits, which will hang on the walls of the White House forever as reminders of the power of hope and change.”

The last time such a ceremony was held was in 2012, when the Obamas welcomed former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush.

“President Bush, his cabinet, his staff, many of you who are here today, went out of your ways -- George, you went out of your way -- to make sure that the transition to a new administration was as seamless as possible,” President Obama said at the 2012 ceremony.

Whether Biden would host such a ceremony for Trump remains unclear.

Jean-Pierre declined to answer whether Biden would do such a ceremony for his predecessor.