On Wednesday the official White House portraits of the 44th President, Democrat Barack Obama, and former First Lady Michelle Obama were unveiled during a ceremony in their former Washington DC residence.
Both the former POTUS and FLOTUS delivered remarks during the ceremony. While not mentioned by name, many felt Michelle Obama made a very pointed rebuke of former Republican President Donald Trump in her speech.
In her speech, Michelle Obama spoke of the importance of traditions.
You can watch an excerpt of her remarks here:
\u201cIn her remarks during Wednesday's official White House portrait unveiling, Michelle Obama stressed the importance of democratic traditions and the peaceful transfer power. https://t.co/B98BgsNHH1\u201d— CNN (@CNN) 1662585905
Michelle Obama stated:
"I never could have imagined that any of this will be part of my story, but even if it’s all still a bit awkward for me, I do recognize why moments like these are important, why all of this is absolutely necessary.”
"Traditions like this matter not just for those of us who hold these positions, but for everyone participating in and watching our democracy."
The former FLOTUS added:
"The people, they make their voices heard with their vote. We hold an inauguration to ensure a peaceful transition of power."
"Those of us lucky enough to serve work, as Barack said, as hard as we can for as long as we can, as long as the people choose to keep us here and once our time is up, we move on."
"And all that remains in this hallowed place are our good efforts and these portraits."
Pundits and the public alike are calling Michelle Obama's speech a swipe at Trump.
\u201cWell played, Michelle Obama! She just took a thinly-veiled shot at Trump during the unveiling of her official White House portrait that Trump refused to unveil, declaring that \u201ctraditions like this matter\u201d and that America should always \u201censure a peaceful transition of power."\ud83d\udc99\u201d— Omar Rivero (@Omar Rivero) 1662580680
\u201cGot so emotional listening to Michelle Obama speak today, she spoke from the heart and I could tell that like millions of Americans her heart was hurting for what we are all going through, Trump has ripped this country apart but we will prevail!\u201d— Karen Brown (@Karen Brown) 1662605905
\u201c@AmoneyResists @MichelleObama My favorite quote from @MichelleObama.\n\nSince the 1980s we all knew Trump was a heartless conman, but the presidency has shown us he was actually far far worse.\u201d— Andrew Wortman \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Andrew Wortman \ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1662575893
\u201cWE do but Trump just can't....ego\n\nCNN\nMichelle Obama stresses importance of peaceful transfer of power and democratic traditions: 'Once our time is up, we move on'\u201d— ANN SISCO 1 1 (@ANN SISCO 1 1) 1662596051
\u201cI can't imagine portraits of trump and Melania in the WH for they stand for everything that the country isn't about, but if so Melania won't be able to plagiarize First Lady Michelle Obama 's speech because it came from her \u2764\ufe0f something Melania doesn't possess..\u201d— Carmen Watkins (@Carmen Watkins) 1662576131
\u201c@RandilynIsIn The struggle is real\u201d— RaPUNzel\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@RaPUNzel\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1662601174
Democratic President Joe Biden shared a photo and message about the event on the official POTUS Twitter account.
President Biden tweeted:
"Barack and Michelle helped lift the American people's burden of fear with the blessing of hope."
"That’s the gift of the Obama presidency to history."
"And it’s a gift I felt personally."
"It was my honor to unveil their White House portraits today."
\u201cBarack and Michelle helped lift the American people's burden of fear with the blessing of hope.\n \nThat\u2019s the gift of the Obama presidency to history. And it\u2019s a gift I felt personally. It was my honor to unveil their White House portraits today.\u201d— President Biden (@President Biden) 1662589533
\u201cWow !! What a beautiful ceremony!! They got such warm real applause!Outstanding couple! I love President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama!! I love seeing President Biden and Obama cutting it up together ! I cried a little...life before trump was great! \u2764\ufe0f\u201d— Ann-Marie (@Ann-Marie) 1662578091
The Trump administration broke a longstanding tradition by refusing to unveil the Obama's portraits.
\u201cBarack and Michelle Obama receive a standing ovation upon returning to the White House for their official portrait unveiling.\n\nDonald Trump refused to hold the ceremony for the Obamas while he was president.\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1662573664
\u201cTrump denied former POTUS Obama an unveiling ceremony of his portrait. First time this ever happened in history.\n\nIn comparison to the other numerous transgressions of Trump, this seems minor and unimportant. But it shows how petty, ungracious and uncivil Trump is.\u201d— anthony gullo (@anthony gullo) 1662610588
\u201cTrump refused to unveil Barack Obama's official portrait at the White House, breaking a 40-year tradition.\n\nWho thinks President Biden should likewise REFUSE to unveil Trump\u2019s portrait? \u270b\u201d— Jon Cooper (@Jon Cooper) 1662486872
\u201c100% of Americans are super happy that President Biden & Flotus hosted President Obama and Michelle. Instead of spiteful, trashy, classless, jealous, hateful, Trump & Melania.\u201d— Real Republican (@Real Republican) 1662599191
\u201cThe unveiling of the Obama portraits 4 years late is just a reminder of how small, petty and classless Trump is.\u201d— Woman In The Moon (@Woman In The Moon) 1662576878
\u201c@ObamaFoundation @ValerieJarrett @BarackObama @MichelleObama @WhiteHouse This is just happening NOW?\n\nYou mean Donald Trump is so petty that he didn't do this with the Obamas while he was in the White House?\n\nOMG. What a disturbed little man-baby he is.\u201d— The Obama Foundation (@The Obama Foundation) 1662555384
Many took the unveiling as an opportunity to speculate on what a Trump portrait might look like.
\u201cIn honor of Michelle and Barack Obama, Donald Trump's Presidential portrait was also released today.\u201d— MP Arizona\u2600\ufe0f\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83d\udc99\ud83c\udf35\ud83d\udc15\ud83d\udc15\u200d\ud83e\uddba\ud83e\udec2\ud83d\udca6\ud83c\udfdc\ud83d\udc1f\ud83c\udf34\ud83c\udf99\ud83c\udf0e\ud83c\udf3b\u264d\ufe0f\ud83c\udf0a (@MP Arizona\u2600\ufe0f\ud83c\udff3\ufe0f\u200d\ud83c\udf08\ud83d\udc99\ud83c\udf35\ud83d\udc15\ud83d\udc15\u200d\ud83e\uddba\ud83e\udec2\ud83d\udca6\ud83c\udfdc\ud83d\udc1f\ud83c\udf34\ud83c\udf99\ud83c\udf0e\ud83c\udf3b\u264d\ufe0f\ud83c\udf0a) 1662575697
As much as I love the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama, I'll love it even more when Trump gets two o… https://t.co/JicbaRVoNj— Ryan Adams 🎞️🏳️🌈🌻🇺🇦 (@Ryan Adams 🎞️🏳️🌈🌻🇺🇦) 1662575466
\u201cWith National Portrait Gallery unveiling Presidential Portraits of Barack & Michelle Obama, they also are bringing in the portrait of America's First Traitor, Donald Trump\n\n#TraitorTrump #TrumpPutin #HelsinkiHostageSummit\u201d— Tomi T Ahonen Now Hiding His Nuclear Espionage (@Tomi T Ahonen Now Hiding His Nuclear Espionage) 1662585530
\u201cWatching the the unveiling of the portrait of President and Michelle Obama made me realize how damned abnormal Trump is. He\u2019s toxic. He doesn\u2019t have the ability to be a normal functioning human. He\u2019s. pathetic.\u201d— Julie B(rooklyn) Multi Racial Resister\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddef\ud83c\uddf2\ud83d\ude37 (@Julie B(rooklyn) Multi Racial Resister\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8\ud83c\uddef\ud83c\uddf2\ud83d\ude37) 1662588193
The 45th President infamously refused to concede in 2020 after losing both the popular and electoral votes to Biden by a large margin.
Trump's Big Lie about his election loss was cited as a catalyst for the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot and attempted coup.
While many pointed to Michelle Obama's words as an indictment of Trump and the division his election lies created, she also stated:
"As much as some folks might want us to believe that that story has lost some of its shine, that division and discrimination and everything else might have dimmed its light, I still know deep in my heart that what we share, as my husband continues to say, is so much bigger than what we don’t."
"Our democracy is so much stronger than our differences."