Did Obama Troll Donald Trump With a Norman Rockwell Painting in Oval Office Meeting?

Lady Liberty opens her arms to immigrants; Trump does not.

US President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump on transition planning in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington,DC. Photo Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.
US President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump on transition planning in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington,DC. Courtesy of Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

It seems that someone in President Barack Obama’s office may have slyly sent a message to president-elect Donald Trump during their post-election meeting in the Oval Office.

A painting by beloved American painter Norman Rockwell was moved, according to an editorial in the Huffington Post by his granddaughter Abigail, so that it would appear over Trump’s shoulder as the cameras blazed. The painting depicts several men, one of them notably African-American, doing maintenance work on the Statue of Liberty.

The statue’s inscription welcomes destitute immigrants, whereas Trump has proposed restrictions on immigration based on religion, specifically calling for a ban on Muslims coming to the US. He has also referred to Mexican immigrants, in the speech in which he announced his candidacy, as rapists.

Rockwell writes:

Who moved the painting and why? It is clearly too small for that space; a larger landscape painting had hung there previously. Originally the Rockwell painting was displayed to the right of President Obama’s desk and the expansive window, over a Frederick Remington sculpture, The Bronco Buster.

Just below the painting, she points out, appears a bust portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr. by African-American sculptor Charles Alston.

Statue of Liberty appeared on the cover of the July 6, 1946, issue of The Saturday Evening Post, according to the Norman Rockwell Museum, and was donated to the White House collection by filmmaker Steven Spielberg.

In times of great upheaval, Norman Rockwell’s art and the words and actions of Martin Luther King, Jr. not only continue to resonate, but they remind us of the values and lifted vision that have always made our country great, no matter what strife or turmoil we may have to face.

Also in Rockwell-related news, an election-relevant canvas, Which One? (1944), showing a voter in the booth, weighing the choice between Thomas Dewey and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, came to auction at Sotheby’s New York yesterday, where it fetched $6.5 million.


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