It's been a White House tradition for decades: A first-term president hosts a ceremony in the East Room for the unveiling of the official portrait of his immediate predecessor that will hang in the halls of the White House for posterity.
Republican presidents have done it for Democratic presidents, and vice versa — even when one of them ascended to the White House by defeating or sharply criticizing the other.
"We may have our differences politically," President Barack Obama said when he hosted former President George W. Bush for his portrait unveiling in 2012, "but the presidency transcends those differences."
Yet this modern ritual won't be taking place between Obama and President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the matter. And if Trump wins a second term in November, it could be 2025 before Obama returns to the White House to see his portrait displayed among every U.S. president from George Washington to Bush.
Trump is unconcerned about shunning yet another presidential custom, and he has attacked Obama to an extent no other president has done to a predecessor. Most recently he's made unfounded accusations that Obama committed an unspecified crime.
Obama, for his part, has no interest in participating in the post-presidency rite of passage so long as Trump is in office, the people familiar with the matter said.
Can you blame Obama here? Nobody was more instrumental to spreading and validating the Obama Kenya birther nonsense than Donald Trump as a way to attack the nation's first black President. Obama in the White House drove Trump to fury, and being the birther candidate meant white voters rewarded him with the White House five years later, pure and simple.
So yeah, you won't see that portrait in the White House anytime while Trump is in office. Trump is an outright racist, and Obama sure as hell shouldn't have to come hat in hand to massa's White House.
I hope Biden puts it up on his first day.