The president and First Lady stopped by the Supreme Court on Thursday to attend a ceremony honoring Neil Gorsuch, the newly-minted justice Trump appointed in January. Gorsuch and the gang posed with the Trumps, and a good time was had by...most. Although the mood was jovial, Ruth Bader Ginsberg didn't smile when posing with Trump, and given her contentious relationship with the president, many suspected that this wasn't accidental.
Several high-profile Republicans attended the ceremony, including Kenneth Starr, the former solicitor general who led independent investigations into President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, as well as former attorneys general John Ashcroft, Edwin Meese, Alonzo Gonzales and Michael Mukasey. Trump's visit came as the court weighs a legal challenge to the president's travel ban, which has been struck down by multiple lower courts. Trump has appealed those decisions, and the Supreme Court is set to be fully briefed on the case by June 22nd.
On the one hand, it may not be wise to read too much into Ginsburg's facial expression. After all, Justice Anthony Kennedy, who was standing next to Ginsburg, also didn't smile for the photo-op. Ginsburg could have simply been distracted, or tired, or irritated about something completely unrelated to Trump. On the other hand, Ginsburg's disdain for Trump is well-documented, and it's hard not to take that into consideration when looking at this photo. At the very least, it's safe to say that she didn't go out of her way to put on a happy face during the president's visit.
On Twitter, the reaction was mixed.
Others, however, didn't conclude anything big from the photo, arguing that the Clinton appointee was simply display "resting rbg face" — or, as one user put it, "resting pope face."
The tension between Ginsburg and Trump is well-documented. In an interview with CNN during the presidential campaign, she referred to him as a "faker" with "no consistency about him," and questioned how the the reality TV host had proceeded so far in the presidential contest without releasing his tax returns.
"He says whatever comes into his head at the moment," Ginsburg said of Trump. "He really has an ego." The then-candidate struck back on Twitter, calling Ginsburg's comments "very dumb" and asserting that "her mind is shot."
Ginsburg eventually apologized for her remarks, which she acknowledged were "ill-advised." However, she chimed in again a month after Trump's inauguration, declaring that "we are not experiencing the best of times." Maybe that's why she wasn't smiling.