The ‘tacky’ Trump painting artist created similar work for Obama

  • The artist Andy Thomas, a self-taught painter living in Missouri, said he was surprised to learn Trump has hung the painting in the White House.
  • Thomas also created a similar painting depicting former President Barack Obama alongside past Democratic presidents.
  • Thomas said there’s a hidden feminist message lying in both of the paintings.

On Sunday’s episode of CBS’s 60 Minutes, President Donald Trump joined reporter Lesley Stahl for an interview that covered many topics, including his doubts about climate science, his distrust of some staffers, the Mueller investigation and the ongoing trade disputes with China. But most revealing about the interview, at least according to Twitter, was a glimpse of one of Trump’s latest decorative updates to the White House: a painting of himself playing poker and drinking a Diet Coke alongside past Republican presidents.

The painting—dubbed The Republican Clubby artist Andy Thomas—depicts a smiling and relatively slim 45th president sitting between Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon. Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Calvin Coolidge, Ronald Reagan, and both Bushes also surround Trump in the imaginary scene.

A Democratic mirror image

One could be forgiven for assuming that Thomas, who in addition to the Trump painting has created works depicting the American West, oil wells and Civil War battles, is a through-and-through Trump supporter. But the self-taught artist also painted a similar work called ‘The Democratic Club’ that shows former President Barack Obama surrounded by some of his left-leaning predecessors.

Image of ‘The Democratic Club’ painting courtesy of Andy Thomas

Thomas told TIME he’s not a political person and wasn’t sure what past presidents would think of Trump.

“He’s outside the norm of Republicans and that makes it kind of interesting,” Thomas told TIME. “Is he going to end up going in history as a great Republican or an abnormality or something? So it’s interesting. I just put him at the table, more or less the center of attention. We’ll let history decide. Or let the people decide. It’s not up to me.”

On social media, reactions to ‘The Republican Club’ were mixed. Some called it tacky or bizarre. The more sophisticated critics noted that Reagan is almost certainly drinking a Sex on the Beach. And others noted that the president could have a thing for Starburst.

I’ll give him this: a jar of just the pink and red starbursts is probably one of the first things I ask for if I’m president
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) October 15, 2018

In any case, Thomas was pleased his painting (or at least a print of it) ended up in the White House.

My favorite aspect of the Oval Office painting saga is perhaps that Trump doesn’t even have the original, per the artist.
— Abigail Tracy (@abigailtracy) October 15, 2018

“He 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.”

Thomas also said there’s a feminist message hiding in the backgrounds of both his political paintings—a woman, the nation’s first female president, confidently striding toward the table.

The ‘tacky’ Trump painting artist created similar work for Obama