BURLINGTON, Vt. — Six months into President Donald Trump’s administration, his and the vice president’s pictures are still absent from the walls of the U.S. District Court in Burlington.
In fact, the official portraits are not hanging in any federal buildings, according to U.S. General Services Administration regional spokesperson Patrick Sclafani. The administration manages about 1,600 federal buildings.
Why? Because the agency hasn’t received the official portraits from the U.S. Government Publishing Office yet, Sclafani said in an email last week.
Since Trump’s inauguration in January the two spaces near the elevators in the Burlington courthouse where President Barack Obama’s and Vice President Joe Biden’s portraits once hung remain blank. Typically, the photos are visible when visitors walk in the door.
The official photos of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been snapped already. However, the White House has not provided them to the U.S. Government Publishing Office.
“GPO is standing by to reproduce copies of the President and the Vice President’s photos for official use in Federal facilities, and will do so as soon as the official photo files are provided to us,” said agency spokesperson Gary Somerset. “I do not have a timeline on when GPO will receive those files from The White House.”
Tyler Ross, a spokesman with White House Media Affairs, said Tuesday he would look into why the photos had not yet been given to the U.S. Government Publishing Office. As of 4:30 p.m., the Burlington Free Press had not received an answer.
There are, however, at least two photos of Trump on display in public buildings in Vermont, neither of which were officially distributed. The Highgate Springs Port of Entry at the U.S. and Canada border has a portrait of Trump hanging in the lobby. Sean Smith, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in an email that the agency “directed facilities and offices, including the Port of Highgate Springs, to display the President’s Inauguration portrait until the official portrait is released.”
The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in White River Junction also has a portrait of President Trump and the VA Secretary David J. Shulkin displayed at its entrances. Katherine Tang, a public affairs officer for the White River Junction facility, said staff took it upon themselves to print, frame and display the photos after veterans noticed the blank walls. Tang said the facility is still waiting for the official portraits to come through the VA’s regional office.
“We wanted to make sure that their experience was a positive one,” Tang said, referring to the veterans who noticed the lack of portraits.
According to a story by The Hill earlier this month, the portraits are supposed to hang in more than 7,000 agencies and office buildings in the U.S. The Hill article stated that Trump is not alone in waiting to distribute his portrait — President Bill Clinton waited almost a year into his administration before his picture adorned the walls of federal buildings, the White House Historical Association told The Hill.
An attempt to reach the White House Historical Association on Tuesday for more information was not successful.
Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com