According to a new report from NBC, “President Joe Biden plans to host a White House ceremony this year for the unveiling of former President Barack Obama’s official portrait.” Despite the tradition of formal White House unveilings of portraits of presidents during the first terms of their successors, no such event to honor the Obamas took place while Trump was in office as president. Now, NBC says that “a formal event with Obama and his wife, Michelle, is expected to take place at the White House — likely this fall,” after the lifting of gathering restrictions connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although he has refused to participate in other components of the traditional process connected to the conclusion of a presidency — like attending his successor’s inauguration, which he skipped — ex-President Trump has apparently been involved in the often long process of developing his own official portrait for the White House. Still, NBC notes based on remarks from sources that there’s no apparent indication that the former president will be heading to the White House for a formal ceremony to unveil that portrait. After all, Trump continues to falsely maintain that Biden’s presidential election victory was the result of fraud.
The Obamas do already have portraits that have been unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery, which is a component of the Smithsonian Institution. Portraits of the former president and his wife, former First Lady Michelle Obama, were formally rolled out a little over a year after they left the White House. Meanwhile, back at the White House, the Trump administration moved the official White House portraits of former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton away from a spot in clear view of tourists where images of recent presidents typically hang, but the Biden administration has — besides its many other steps to address the chaos left behind by the Trump era — put those portraits back in place.