President Snowflake Can’t Bear To Look At Portraits Of Living Two-Term Presidents


During his Mount Rushmore address over Fourth of July weekend, Donald Trump denounced a "merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children." This entirely made-up threat must've sounded like fun to him, because he's gotten in on the action. CNN reports that Trump has removed the official portraits of former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush from the Grand Foyer of the White House sometime over the past week.

Portraits of the most recent presidents are traditionally displayed prominently in the entrance of the executive mansion, so guests during official events can look up and say, “Hey, that's some really boring naturalistic art." But Trump had to look at these two-term presidents every single day when he comes down the stairs from his private residence. That's a lot to ask of the president. It's much easier for Black children to walk past a memorial for Confederate General Negro Slave Catcher on their way home from school.

Trump doesn't like Clinton and Bush because neither voted for him or think much of him. By those standards, the White House will just feature portraits of the Fox News primetime lineup. Trump doesn't publicly attack Clinton and Bush as much as he does Barack Obama, because he's a gross racist, but Trump has reportedly called George W. Bush “stupid." We wouldn't disagree with that assessment. However, despite W's almost fatal battle with a pretzel, he never bragged about "acing" a cognitive test like he was Billy Madison spelling "couch."

According to John Bolton's book, Trump “despised" both Bush 41 and 43. He's also claimed Clinton was a “bad president," and it's true that Bubba wasn't up to the bigoted standards of Woodrow Wilson, who Trump has recently defended.

Trump replaced the Bush portrait with one of William McKinley, the 25th president, who was assassinated in 1901. McKinley at least served on the American side of the Civil War and was able to overcome his youthful struggles with neckwear. (Trump has had a weird thing for McKinley ever since Barack Obama did tyranny by agreeing with Alaska that America's tallest mountain should just be called "Denali" instead of "Mount McKinley," because it's always been Denali to Alaskans.) Clinton's portrait was replaced by one of Theodore Roosevelt, who succeeded McKinley. A progressive champion, Roosevelt was also a conservationist, naturalist, and writer. Trump is neither of those things.

The Clinton and Bush portraits have been banished to the Old Family Dining Room, a small space that most visitors don't see. Whenever Donald Trump Jr. visits, they probably take him there and tell him it's the Oval Office.

The Old Family Dining Room has been used for storage over the past three years after the president and first lady expressly removed it from the list of locations visited during White House tours before the pandemic closed the building to the public.

"President and Mrs. Trump did not want that room showcased on public tours," a separate official said.

They're very particular about the Old Family Dining Room, as if they'd murdered someone together and stashed the body there. The more likely reason is less interesting. Michelle Obama, the last real first lady, renovated the Old Family Dining Room in 2015, which is when it was open to the public for the first time. The room was decorated with modern art, which Trump hates, and includes "Resurrection" by Alma Thomas, the first Black woman artist whose work is part of the permanent White House collection. It now hangs unseen in a dark room because Trump is pettiness personified.

Celebrating 20th Century Art in the White House


Stephen Robinson on Twitter.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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