Viewers of President Trump’s interview on “60 Minutes” Sunday night were surprised to see him holding court and yukking it up with a group of former GOP presidents.
The surreal scene was captured in a well-known and updated painting – “The Republican Club” by Andy Thomas – hanging on a White House wall.
The president is seen seated with Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, Abraham Lincoln, Richard Nixon and George W. Bush.
Standing behind them are George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford and Teddy Roosevelt. Even Calvin Coolidge hovers nearby.
Trump, wearing his ubiquitous red tie and white shirt, seems to be sharing a joke with the group while a glass of what appears to be his beverage of choice – Diet Coke – sits next to his arm.
With the exception of Honest Abe, who is holding a glass of water, the others are all nursing alcoholic drinks.
Thomas told The Daily Beast that Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) gave the artwork to the president.
“He had actually given 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.”
The artist has painted a similar version of the scene – featuring Democratic presidents – hanging in the White House. His first piece, which he completed in 2008, included Republicans — minus Trump — playing poker.
The self-taught cowboy painter from Missouri said he wasn’t sure how the 45th president would be received by his predecessors in an imaginary meeting.
“He’s outside the norm of Republicans and that makes it kind of interesting,” he told Time magazine recently.
“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.”
Thomas said it was a challenge to paint Trump because his light hair, tan skin and lack of dark creases under his eyes make his face mostly just “a light warm color.”
He also found it difficult to give the president a “genuine smile” – and had to start from scratch after his first try seemed off.
Thomas’ painting also includes a notable feminist message – a shadowy woman is seen walking toward the seated presidents. She also appears in his other work, “The Democratic Club.”
“That will be the first Republican female president and the first Democratic female president,” Thomas told Time.
“As I was doing the painting, I was thinking that these guys are kind of intimidating in a way. That’s the kind of woman that will be our first woman president – she’ll walk right up to that table.”
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