People may be upset about Sarah Palin’s picture with Hillary Clinton’s White House portrait, but what some LGBT activists did to Ronald Reagan’s portrait in 2012 was worse. Palin, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent got some heat from the media in response to their photo, with CNN’s Ana Navarro even calling it “immature, childish, foolish, and to be expected from that crowd.”
However, Palin & Co. weren’t the first to strike a negative pose in front of a White House portrait. Back in 2012, former President Barack Obama held the first-ever gay pride event at the White House, and two of his invited guests — Matthew Hart and Zoe Strauss — made it clear that they weren’t big fans of former President Ronald Reagan by flicking off his portrait.
At the time, Hart told Philadelphia magazine, “Yeah, fuck Reagan. Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die. He was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.”
However, the Obama administration issued a statement condemning their behavior, which read, “While the White house does not control the conduct of guests at receptions, we certainly expect that all attendees conduct themselves in a respectful manner […] These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House.”
The Trump administration has yet to publicly react to Palin’s photo.