Wednesday, January 7, 2022, ceremony in the East Room marked a rare occasion for a celebration among two presidential administrations, where President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden convened a who’s who of administration officials past and present – for the unveiling of the official White House portraits of former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
The pieces, which will hang inside the White House for decades to come, are the first official portraits added to the White House Collection since then-President Obama held a bipartisan unveiling ceremony for George W. Bush and Laura Bush in 2012.
Biden used the unveiling ceremony to reflect on the Obamas’ accomplishments in the White House, saying that the former first couple “made history.”
“You both generated hope for millions of people who were left behind for so long – and it matters. You both did it with such grace and such class. You dreamed big and secured lasting wins for the American people, helping lift their burden with a blessing of hope,” he continued. “It’s so underestimated … just having hope. This is the gift of the Obama presidency to the country and to history.”
The former President subsequently led a standing ovation for Biden, saying in the East Room,
“Thanks to your decency and thanks to your strength – maybe most of all thanks to your faith in democracy and the American people – the country’s better off than when you took office. And we should all be deeply grateful for that.”