There is a specter hanging in the White House, an image of ghosts long past but still present to haunt the future of the country.
That specter is “The Republican Club,” by Andy Thomas.
During President Trump’s rambling “60 Minutes” interview, Trump and CBS reporter Lesley Stahl walked through the White House, and Eagle-eyed viewers including IJR’s Josh Billinson noticed a certain artwork hanging in one of the rooms Stahl and Trump passed through.
If you click on the first image, you can see that that is unmistakably “The Republican Club,” a garish painting of all of the Republican presidents of recent memory, including Trump (and Lincoln!), yukking it up at table. My best guess after a few minutes of studying the West Wing floor plan would be that it’s hanging either in room off of the President’s secretary’s office, or in the secretary’s office itself (if anyone knows for sure, let me know in the comments).
Thomas’s work isn’t as explicitly political as say, Jon McNaughton’s extremely weird fan fiction about the president, but it’s still the kind of extremely self-lauding thing Trump would put up. Thomas also has “The Democratic Club,” which, as far as we know, did not make an appearance at the White House. The question I have is: is this the original? Or did Trump just buy a print/ standard copy from Thomas’s website? How did it all go down? Did he tell someone to order it for him?
The Canvas Glicee print of “The Republican Club” has a “Tribute Special Edition” 30x45 inch print for $1,700, of which only 45 were printed. That appears to be the right size, so it’s entirely possible that Trump spent $1,700 on a painting of him drinking Diet Coke with Lincoln.
Also, Trump has a giant jar of pink and red Starburst.
Update, 11:18 PM, 10/14/2018:
Thomas told The Daily Beast that the painting was a gift:
Thomas told The Daily Beast that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), a fan of the artist’s work, gave the print to Trump.
“He had actually given a me real gracious call to tell me how much he liked it,” Thomas said of Trump. “He was very complimentary. He made a comment that he’d seen a lot of paintings of himself and he rarely liked them.”