Trump and Melania make their debuts in the National Portrait Gallery: President poses behind the Resolute Desk opposite John Lewis and behind Obama

  • A photograph of Donald Trump was added to the American Presidents Exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery 
  • The image of Trump is on the other side of a free standing wall in the museum where the famous ‘Hope’ poster of Barack Obama is hanging
  • It is also across from a portrait of late Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis who did not believe Trump was the ‘legitimate’ U.S. leader
  • Guests were able to see the Trump addition on Friday after the Smithsonian finally reopened after closing last year due to coroanvirus restrictions
  • An image of Melania Trump was also added to the exhibit on first ladies
  • The portrait hanging in the museum is a photograph placeholder of an image taken by Pari Dukovic for Time magazine in June 2019 
  • Smithsonian Institution spokesperson Brendan Kelly said a traditional portrait with oil paint on canvas is ‘currently moving forward’

Donald and Melania Trump joined the ranks of past presidents and first ladies when their portraits were placed in the National Portrait Gallery Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C.

The museum reopened on Friday for visitors where Trump’s portrait was found in the presidential portraits exhibit on the opposite side of a freestanding wall where former President Barack Obama’s famous ‘Hope’ poster is hanging.

Trump’s image was quietly put up while the gallery was closed due to pandemic restrictions.

The picture has a caption noting that Trump was elected ‘after tapping into populist American sentiment’ as he ‘put forth an ‘America First’ agenda’. It also mentions his two impeachments and says the coronavirus pandemic ‘became a key issue during his re-election campaign’.

A photograph of Donald Trump was added to the American Presidents Exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.


Museum-goers were able to see the Trump addition on Friday after the Smithsonian finally reopened after closing last year due to coroanvirus restrictions. Many were eager to get an image of the former president’s portrait

An image of Trump’s wife Melania was also added to the exhibit on first ladies

The image of Trump is hanging on the other side of a free standing wall in the museum where the famous ‘Hope’ poster of former President Barack Obama is hanging

The National Portrait Gallery reopened to the public on Friday, May 13

The portrait hanging in the museum is a photograph placeholder of an image taken by Pari Dukovic for Time magazine in June 2019 – the day before he announced he was running for reelection. Smithsonian Institution spokesperson Brendan Kelly said a traditional portrait with oil paint on canvas is ‘currently moving forward’

The current portrait hanging in the museum is actually a photograph of the former president scowling behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, which was taken by Pari Dukovic for Time magazine in June 2019 – the day before he announced he was running for reelection.

Smithsonian Institution spokesperson Brendan Kelly told Yahoo News a traditional portrait with oil paint on canvas is ‘currently moving forward.’

‘We approached the president and Mrs. Trump after the 2020 election and are currently in conversations with them,’ he added.

It is tradition for a past president to be present at the unveiling of their official portrait.

The move to get a portrait of Trump in the gallery shows he is joining the likes of past presidents, even though it’s likely he will launch a bid for president again in 2024 after only serving one term following his loss to Joe Biden in 2020.

The gallery has drawn some criticism from those who feel Trump’s portrait should not be in a position where it is across from a portrait of the late Representative and Civil Rights leader John Lewis.

Barack and Michelle Obama unveil their presidential and first lady portraits on February 12, 2018 at the National Portrait Gallery

Obama’s portrait was moved to make way for Trump’s – the latest president to vacate office

Lewis claimed in 2017 that Trump was not the ‘legitimate’ leader of the U.S. and boycotted his inauguration.

The Georgia representative died last year, and Trump, who was president at the time, did not appear fazed.

‘He didn’t come to my inauguration,’ he said of Lewis at the time of his death.

Paul Staiti, an expert on presidential portraits who teaches at Mount Holyoke College, told Yahoo that the placement of the portrait ‘invites heated conversation.’

‘Trump’s neighbor to the right is, pointedly, Richard Nixon,’ Staiti said.

Trump’s critics compare the two presidents. Nixon was a Republican who resigned from office amid the Watergate scandal and looming impeachment.

Ben Freedman, a British documentary maker based in Louisville, Kentucky, was celebrating his 40th birthday while visiting the Smithsonian portrait museum.

‘I deliberately averted my eyes,’ he said of the portrait of Trump. ‘It’s cool they put Obama behind the bad guy.’

Trump’s portrait hangs now along the likes of other former Presidents John F. Kennedy (pictured left), Abraham Lincoln and George Washington

‘He looks like an insecure man holding the desk to believe in himself,’ he told The Guardian. ‘He doesn’t look very humble.’

Fran McDonald, a British professor at the University of Louisville, agreed: ‘It’s hard to look at.’

‘I started to take a picture of it and then decided I don’t want it on my phone,’ she said. ‘I’m so relieved we don’t have to look at him or listen to him any more. It was a relentless assault on the senses to have him in the 24-hour news cycle.’

On the other hand, it appeared many other visitors were eager to get a photograph of the portrait and document the Trump addition to the exhibit on past presidents.

Melania Trump’s stern image of her arms crossed with a serious look was also added to the portraits of first ladies.

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