You at this moment are reading the words of a sucker for pageantry, ceremony and even a little bit of pomp. It was with that bias that I was able to watch the return of a longstanding White House ceremony laced with good humor, good tidings and gratitude.
President and Mrs. Biden invited former President and Mrs. Obama back to the White House today to unveil portraits of the Obamas that will hang in the people’s house alongside — as President Obama noted — “George and Martha.”
OK, this isn’t normally the stuff that would fill a blog such as mine. Except for the proverbial elephant that one could almost hear trudging through the White House room where they unveiled the Obamas’ portraits.
That was the memory of the single term of the man who served as president between the terms of Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Donald J. Trump could have had a ceremony honoring the Obamas. He chose to throw that tradition aside, alongside other traditions that Trump chose to ignore.
No one mentioned Trump’s name in their remarks to the nation as the pictures were unveiled. There was no need. The Obamas and the Bidens all referred to the “tradition” they were honoring, just as the Obamas did when they unveiled portraits of President and Mrs. Bush, and just as the Bushes did when they welcomed back President and Mrs. Clinton for precisely the same ceremony.
I should point out that in both those instances, presidents of one party honored his predecessor from the opposing party, setting aside partisan differences and disagreements over policy to honor their service to the country.
So, now for The Big Question: Would there be such a ceremony in which Donald and Melania Trump come back to the White House for a portrait unveiling? I almost laughed out loud when I typed those words.
Given all the hatred and the violence that preceded the transition from Donald Trump to Joe Biden’s administration … do not hold your breath waiting for the Trumps to return to the White House.