Without a whimper of dissent, a portrait of Trump was added to a third-story wall at the Colorado Capitol today, joining the likenesses of scores of other U.S. presidents.
Nothing negative was mentioned about Trump in the remarks of three Republicans and one Democrat who spoke at the unveiling ceremony, along with artist Sarah Boardman.
Former Colorado Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City), who led an online fundraising effort to pay for the Trump portrait in the Capitol, praised Trump as a “populist.”
“It’s only fitting that a populist, such as the president, would have the first crowd-funded campaign for a presidential portrait,” said Grantham at today’s event.
“You are the ones that made this happen,” he said.
Grantham brushed aside concerns by critics that Trump so deeply undermines U.S. values and institutions that his portrait has no proper place under the gold dome, at least now.
“Unfortunately, there is plenty not to like about each and every one [of the U.S. presidents portrayed at the Capitol], and we could find reasons to take them all down,” said Grantham on KCOL radio Wednesday. “But the fact of the matter is, they were all presidents of the United States, and they deserve to be on that wall.”
Speakers at the unveiling of the Trump portrait at the Capitol this afternoon echoed those sentiments, agreeing that Trump’s portrait should be on the wall, regardless of what he does as president.
State Sen. John Cooke (R-Greeley), for example, told onlookers that “the portraits show the strength of the American spirit.”
“It’s not about the man,” said Cooke. “It’s about the institution.”
Some of the speakers noted that they were proud it was Colorado Day.
“It’s a great day to be an American,” said State Rep. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Highlands Ranch).
Colorado Springs artist Sarah Boardman, who was commissioned to create the portrait, said previously that her work portrays the president with a “serious, non-confrontational” and “thoughtful” expression. Boardman also painted the portrait of former President Barack Obama that currently hangs in the Capitol.
One Trump opponent at the event said a new portrait might need to be added to the Capitol sooner than expected.
“If they need help raising money for a Pence portrait or a Pelosi portrait, let me know,” said ProgressNow Colorado’s Alan Franklin, referring to the order of presidential succession. “I’m here to help.”