President Joe Biden is reportedly planning to host Barack Obama for the unveiling of his White House portrait after former President Donald Trump declined to take part in the tradition.
Sources close to the matter told NBC News that it is likely that Biden will be holding the event at the White House for both Obama and his wife Michelle sometime in the fall.
“They’re virtually done,” a source said, referring to the process of making the portraits for the Obamas. This process typically takes up to two years, but the portraits are typically unveiled within two years of the former president leaving office.
Another insider added that some of the people involved would like to wait to hold the event until larger crowds can gather because “it would be a shame to do it and have only six or seven people there.”
“As Covid restrictions continue to be lifted and we slowly reopen the White House for social activities, we will continue to work through these types of issues,” added a White House official.
It’s been reported that Trump and his wife Melania are taking part in having their portraits painted. They have started discussions with the White House Historical Association, which commissions the portraits, and with the National Portrait Gallery, which paints another series of portraits separately.
“We are working with both the National Portrait Gallery and the White House Historical Association, and our progress is consistent with historical precedent,” an advisor to Trump was quoted as saying.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki that Biden would be inviting Trump to have the traditional unveiling of his portrait at the White House, according to The Hill.
“I have not been given any indication that we would break with tradition in that regard,” she said.
The Obamas already have portraits of themselves hanging at the National Portrait Gallery in the Smithsonian that were painted by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, respectively. These portraits were unveiled back in February of 2018.
The Obamas declined to comment when contacted about potentially having Biden host them at the White House for their portrait unveiling.