According to a new report from NBC News, President Trump and former President Obama are likely to skip the ceremonial portrait unveiling amid bad blood.
The report states “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” and “it could be 2025 before Obama returns to the White House to see his portrait displayed”
NBC notes if the ceremony is indeed skipped as expected it will be the first time in decades.
NBC news reports 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.
former President Barack Obama criticized “the folks in charge” for their response to the coronavirus pandemic in a commencement address Saturday, offering some of his most pointed condemnation of President Donald Trump’s administration.
“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said in the address, which was streamed online. “A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.”
“If the world’s going to get better, it’s going to be up to you,” he said.
The commencement address was delivered to 27,000 students at 78 historically black colleges and universities in a two-hour event called “Show Me Your Walk H.B.C.U. Edition.”
Obama is expected to participate in a second commencement ceremony hosted by NBA star LeBron James for graduating high school seniors. The event will be televised.
Since leaving office three years ago, Obama has rarely criticized Trump publicly.
“President Trump’s unprecedented coronavirus response has saved lives,” said White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement Saturday evening. “His early travel restrictions and quarantines protected the American public while his Paycheck Protection Program and direct payments to Americans got needed economic relief to our country.”
“Moreover, President Trump directed the greatest mobilization of the private sector since World War II to fill the stockpile left depleted by his predecessor,” the statement said. “As we look to the future, we have the President who ushered in the hottest economy in modern history ready to do it a second time.”
Trump responded on Sunday, calling his predecessor “grossly incompetent.”
In a private phone call with thousands of alumni of his administration last week, Obama called the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic an “absolute chaotic disaster.”
Obama also said during the call that “seeing others as an enemy” had “become a stronger impulse in American life” and had weakened the response to the global crisis.