The official portraits of former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were removed from the Grand Foyer of the White House within the last week, aides told CNN, and replaced by those of two Republican presidents who served more than a century ago.
White House tradition calls for portraits of the most recent American presidents to be given the most prominent placement, in the entrance of the executive mansion, visible to guests during official events. That was the case through at least July 8, when President Donald Trump welcomed Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
The two stood in the Cross Hall of the White House and made remarks, with the portraits of Clinton and Bush essentially looking on as they had been throughout Trump’s first term.But in the days after after that, the Clinton and Bush portraits were moved into the Old Family Dining Room, a small, rarely used room that is not seen by most visitors.
That places the paintings well outside of Trump’s vantage point in the White House. In their previous location, the pictures would have been seen daily as Trump descends the staircase from his third floor private residence or when he hosts events on the state floor of the White House. Now, they hang in a space used mainly for storing unused tablecloths and furniture.The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The portrait of former President Barack Obama is not expected to be unveiled for a formal ceremony during Trump’s first term, a sign of the bitter relationship between the 44th and 45th presidents. Trump has accused Obama of unsubstantiated and unspecified crimes, and has questioned whether Obama was born in the US for years.
Trump has — less frequently — similarly disparaged Bush and Clinton. In his book, former Trump national security adviser John Bolton wrote Trump “despised” both Bush presidents, and people familiar with the conversations say Trump has lambasted George W. Bush as “stupid.” Trump has similarly castigated Clinton, the husband of his 2016 presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, and suggested he was a bad president.Trump has not spoken to either man extensively as president, though he did greet them both in person during the funeral of George H.W. Bush in December 2018
.The Bush portrait has been replaced by that of William McKinley, the nation’s 25th president, who was assassinated in 1901, and the Clinton portrait has been replaced by one of Theodore Roosevelt, who succeeded McKinley, three people who have seen the portraits this week tell CNN.