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15 October 2018

27 questions about that insane painting hanging in the White House

Is Richard Nixon drinking rosé?

By Jonn Elledge

Last night’s episode of US news magazine show 60 Minutes included an interview with the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. That interview included a shot of a painting by Missouri-based artist Andy Thomas, which is called The Republican Club, and which shows… well, look:

I would say that I have some questions.

1. What happened to the rest of Trump?

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2. Honestly, is his head on someone else’s body?

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3. Or is it his head on his body from about 1975?

4. WTF is Dwight D. Eisenhower wearing?

5. The man was both a two-term president and a war hero. Why is he wearing a shitty yellow polo shirt of the sort you’d find in the discount bin at the Gap?

6. Why is Abraham Lincoln shown from behind?

7. Seriously, why would you show the man who is unarguably the greatest Republican president, and very possibly, the greatest US president of all, in such a way that you have to look quite hard to work out that it’s him?

8. By the same token, why would you show Richard Nixon in a manner that meant that you didn’t have to look quite hard to work out that it’s him?

9. If you were interested in promoting the noble history of the Republic party, wouldn’t you do everything you can to disguise the existence of Richard Milhous Nixon?

10. Why is Richard Milhous Nixon drinking rosé?

11. Isn’t that exactly the kind of East Coast liberal elitist bullshit for which Richard Milhous Nixon would never, ever stand?

12. And is that a Pimms in front of Ronald Reagan?

13. What kind of fucked up men’s club is this?

14. Why would the artist give so much space to Gerald Ford, the only person ever to become U.S. president without being on the winning ticket in a presidential election?

15. And is that the almost entirely pointless Calvin Coolidge in the top right?

16. Why would you not replace one of these entirely mediocre men with say, Ulysses S. Grant, who was commander of the U.S. during the final days of the Civil War, served two terms as president, can be seen peering from the distance in the top left of the painting and has amazing facial hair?

17. Why is George W. Bush sitting while his father George H. W. Bush is forced to stand?

18. What kind of shitty son is he?

19. Why are the two Bushes looking so pleased to be in a room with Trump when they reportedly can’t stand him, didn’t vote for him, and in at least one case voted for Hillary Clinton instead?

20. When Bush Junior has been going round cracking jokes that Trump is doing wonders for his reputation?

21. And when Trump is going round retaliating by attacking the record of George W. Bush?

22. What are they all laughing at?

23. And why is Trump doing that confused half smile?

24. Is this like the thing at the UN where everyone started laughing at Trump, but he thought they were laughing with him?

25. Is this actually an incredibly subversive painting showing a century and a half of Republican presidents pointing and laughing at the current occupant of the White House?

26. If, as the artist claims, the blurry woman heading towards the table is meant to represent the female president yet to come, why is she dressed like it’s 1961 and she’s come to collect her no-good cheating husband from the country club?

27. And if the background  is meant in part to represent presidents yet to come, then why is there no black Republican president marching towards the table, too?

Sorry, that last one doesn’t actually count as a question, does it.