Obama official portraits – latest: Barack jokes about tan suit and Michelle jabs Trump at painting unveiling

Barack and Michelle Obama’s portraits unveiled at White House

It has been more than five years since President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama departed 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

On Wednesday though, they returned, as President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, revived the beloved Washington tradition of the unveiling of official White House portraits that has for decades managed to transcend partisan politics — after an awkward and anomalous gap in the Trump years.

The day marks the first return visit to the White House for Ms Obama since leaving in 2017, but the second by Mr Obama, who earlier this year attended a ceremony to mark 12 years of Obamacare.

In remarks before the unveiling, Mr Biden offered high praise to the man who occupied the Oval Office when he was vice president. Mr Obama reciprocated and also lightened the mood with jokes and “spicy” comments (as described by Mrs Obama to more laughter).

The former first lady appeared to have a thinly-veiled dig at former President Donald Trump, noting the importance of tradition in a democracy and citing the importance of a peaceful transfer of power: “Once our time is up, we move on.”

In 2012 the Obamas hosted George W Bush and Laura Bush for the unveiling of their portraits.

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Reminder: The tan suit scandal

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‘Stunning’ portraits of Michelle and Barack Obama praised online after unveiling

ICYMI: People are praising the “stunning” portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama after they were unveiled during a White House ceremony.

On Wednesday, the Obamas returned to the executive mansion, more than five years after moving out, to share their official White House portraits.

The Independent’s Chelsea Ritschel reports on the reaction to the latest additions to the White House collection.

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Obama: ‘I want to thank Robert McCurdy for his extraordinary work’

ICYMI: Former President Barack Obama thank Robert McCurdy, the artist who painted his official White House portrait.

“Robert is known for his paintings of public figures, and I love how he paints people exactly the way they are,” said Mr Obama in a tweet, including a video on the creative process behind the production of the latest additions to the White House collection.

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ICYMI: The first lady’s remarks focus on the importance of family, recalling the night in 2008 when the Obama-Biden ticket won the election and they celebrated in Grant Park in Chicago.

There was laughter and music and dancing. There were tears as friends and strangers alike help each other overwhelmed with the joy that hope and change had been realized. The crowd roared, radiating the sense that anything we could dream was within our reach. But at the heart of that enormous moment was a family.

Two little girls who would grow up exploring the secret halls and hideaways of the White House. A mom who would bring her whole heart to serving the American people as First Lady while still guiding and protecting her family with a ferocious devotion. A grandmother who would do absolutely anything for the family she loves and even move to Washington, DC. And a father who showed the world the meaning of Yes We Can.

And when I look at these portraits, I see family your family the family we all built and the families across America that we served together. I see love, joy and fellowship and we are honored to hang them today. And share them with the world.

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‘Stunning’ portraits of Michelle and Barack Obama praised online

People are praising the “stunning” portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama after they were unveiled during a White House ceremony.

On Wednesday, the Obamas returned to the executive mansion, more than five years after moving out, to share their official White House portraits.

The paintings of the former president and the former first lady, which were created by artists Robert McCurdy and Sharon Sprung, respectively, are painted in the artists’ respective styles, with Barack realistically depicted in a black suit, grey tie and an American Flag pin against a stark white backdrop. As is tradition, the former president’s portrait will likely be displayed in the Grand Foyer of the White House, where it will join portraits of Bill Clinton and George W Bush.

Chelsea Ritschel reports.

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Michelle Obama has a dig at Donald Trump in White House portrait remarks

Former first lady Michelle Obama had a thinly-veiled dig at Donald Trump during powerful remarks at the unveiling of her official White House portrait on Wednesday.

Speaking about the significance of the moment and the importance of “participating in and watching our democracy” she referred to the “peaceful transition of power” in a clear reference to the final months of the Trump presidency.

She further said, that those in power work and serve “for as long as we can, as long as the people choose to keep us here,” adding: “once our time is up, we move on”.

Read more of her remarks:

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Watch: Michelle Obama says ‘a girl like me was never supposed to be there’

Michelle Obama says ‘a girl like me was never supposed to be there’ at portrait unveiling

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Michelle Obama’s portrait features her in a gown by Jason Wu

Michelle Obama just had a full circle moment: In the unveiling of her White House portrait, the former FLOTUS is featured in a gown by Jason Wu, who made both of her dresses for her husband Barack Obama’s inaugural celebrations.

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Obama praises Biden for guiding US through ‘perilous times’ at portrait unveiling

Former president Barack Obama returned to the White House and offered strong words of praise and support for the man who served as his vice president for eight years, president Joe Biden.

Traditionally, White House portraits of former presidents are unveiled by their immediate successors, but Mr Obama’s successor – Donald Trump – never scheduled a ceremony to do so even though both Mr Obama’s and Ms Obama’s portraits were completed during his term.

Andrew Feinberg reports on the ceremony and remarks.

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Watch: Biden tells Michele Obama ‘he couldn’t have done it without you’

Joe Biden tells Michele Obama ‘he couldn’t have done it without you’

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