With one arm slung casually over the back of his chair and a glass of what looks to be a Diet Coke before him, President Donald Trump looks across the table at Abraham Lincoln and smiles. Between them, Richard Nixon and Teddy Roosevelt chuckle, their attention clearly focused on whatever has just passed between Trump and Lincoln. But this, of course, isn't real life. No, this is art. And more importantly, it's art Trump has chosen to adorn a wall in the White House with. Yes, you read that right —a painting of Trump hanging with Republican presidents is actually hanging in the White House.
While there were a number of notable moments in Trump's 60 Minutes interview, it was something that flashed briefly in the background that really caught viewers' attention when the interview, and a corresponding segment, aired Sunday night. In a bit of behind-the-scenes footage featured in a 60 Minutes Overtime — Correspondent Candid clip that has Lesley Stahl discussing what it's like to interview Trump, the president can be seen walking the CBS journalist through various rooms in the White House. At one point, they stop before a painting of Trump and a slew of past Republican presidents yucking it up around a table.
The work is Andy Thomas' The Republican Club and it was, according to the artist himself, given to Trump by California Republican Rep. Darrel Issa.
And clearly, Trump liked the painting.
"[Trump] had actually given a me real gracious call to tell me how much he liked it," Thomas told The Daily Beast. "He was very complimentary. He made a comment that he'd seen a lot of paintings of himself and he rarely liked them."
Although the majority of Thomas's paintings feature cowboys and scenes straight out of the Old West, Time magazine has reported that his two most popular paintings are of presidents. One is The Republican Club, which Thomas updated after the 2016 election to include Trump. The other, known as The Democratic Club, features eight Democratic presidents gathered around a table.
Thomas' painted his first pair of Presidential Club paintings — the Republican gang plays poker, while the Democratic gang shoots pool —in 2008. Both the original pair and the updated works feature a woman in the background walking toward the table, which descriptions of the paintings hint symbolize a future female president.
While neither Trump nor Stahl appeared to address or make note of the painting in the footage aired, a number of viewers did. "Oh my god, it's hanging in the white house," Independent Journal Review editor Josh Billinson tweeted alongside a screenshot of the 60 Minutes clip.
"A portrait should reveal something about a subject, and with Trump's approval of this print, with old presidents in thrall to him, it reveals Trump craving the respectability and status he doesn't have," B3ta Contents co-founder Rob Manuel tweeted.
But it's not altogether surprising that Trump decided to frame the version of Thomas' The Republican Club in which he's prominently featured. This is, after all, the man who reportedly hung a framed print of the 2016 Electoral College map in the West Wing.