Someone Planted Putin's Portrait In Colorado's Capitol — Right Where Trump's Should Be
Typically, the most recent president's portrait is added to the collection at the Colorado state capitol building within their first year in office. Donald Trump's portrait, however, is missing due to lack of funds. Instead, a prankster put Russian President Vladimir Putin's portrait in Trump's place at Colorado state capitol on Wednesday.
Colorado Citizens for Culture raise money for the presidential portraits, but the group reported that they have received barely any part of the necessary $10,000 in private funds, according to the Denver NBC affiliate.
Jay Seller, the president of Colorado Citizens for Culture, told a local television station that it takes about four months to raise the amount necessary for a portrait. Private funds for Barack Obama's portrait was raised within his first year in office, according to KDVR, the Denver Fox affiliate. By comparison, Trump was inaugurated almost 18 months ago.
Near the gap in the portrait array for Trump is a sign soliciting donations. KDVR reporter Joe St. George tweeted a photo of the sign, which in part reads: "Donations for the President Donald Trump portrait are being accepted at this time." The sign also lists an address to send checks.
HuffPost reported that the Putin portrait was removed by a tour guide at the capitol.
McClatchy reported that as of Saturday morning only $45 had been donated. "That’s not nearly enough," Seller told McClatchy.
One Trump supporter in Colorado politics told KDVR he was disappointed by the lack of donations. "It makes me feel sad," former Colorado gubernatorial candidate Steve Barlock told the television station.
Barlock said there "should be a bipartisan effort" to fund the portrait, and that donors should be able to donate online, not just by check. "I think the word should be put out easily. It shouldn't be hard," he told KDVR.
The portrait prank comes as Trump and Putin make daily headlines for their close relationship. In fact, Putin said that the Russian government was "ready" to invite Trump to Moscow after the summit in Helsinki.
"We are ready for such meetings. We are ready to invite President Trump to Moscow. Be my guest. He has such an invitation, I told him that," Putin said while in Johannesburg, South Africa at for an economic summit, according to BBC.
Trump has invited Putin to Washington as well. Originally the invitation was for the fall, according to The New York Times. On Wednesday, the White House announced that Putin's visit would be delayed until after the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded. (National Security Adviser John Bolton called the investigation a "witch hunt" when he announced the delay, according to ABC News.)
"President Trump looks forward to having President Putin to Washington after the first of the year, and he is open to visiting Moscow upon receiving a formal invitation," Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Friday, according to the Times.
The mutual invitations come after a summit between Trump and Putin in Helsinki in mid-July. At a press conference after their meetings, Trump said he believed Putin's denial of any interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to CNN. "I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today," Trump said at the press conference, according to CNN.
This set off a series of clarifications by Trump about his faith in the American intelligence community. Trump said he believed Russian interference into the presidential election was "true" in an interview with CBS Evening News days later. "I don't want to get into whether or not he's lying," Trump said of Putin, according to CBS. "I can only say that I do have confidence in our intelligence agencies as currently constituted. I think that [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats is excellent."