President Trump surprised a White House tour group on Tuesday as public tours resumed after being halted for more than seven weeks to accommodate its newest occupant.
The group — the first to visit Trump’s White House — included dozens of cheering (and possibly screaming) schoolchildren who stood behind a velvet rope inside a hall in the East Wing.
The president motioned for one of the kids — later identified as 10-year-old Jack Cornish from Birmingham, Ala. — to join him in a photo op before disappearing behind a French screen.
On the wall behind Trump was the official portrait of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic nominee. For Democrats, the juxtaposition was a sobering reminder of what could have been.
“Well, this is just a kick in the teeth,” Christina Reynolds, a former communications official for the Clinton campaign, wrote on Twitter.
President Bill Clinton and then-first lady Hillary Clinton first opened the White House to tours in January 1993.
The White House Visitors Office, which oversees the tours, has been closed since Trump took office. While a temporary closure is common to allow new administrations to settle into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, White House tours have usually resumed much more quickly.
The delay caused consternation among some members of Congress, including Iowa GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley.
“Whoever monitors twitter at WH for businessman president Trump ‘when is WH going to be opened for public tours?’ Mrs G wants to know,” Grassley tweeted last month.
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