Portraits of President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were spotted being carried at Capitol Hill rather mysteriously. Reporters on the Hill noticed the unusual activity and decided to solve the mystery on their own.
Wall Street Journal reporter Richard Rubin was the first to spot the paintings.
This just came into the Capitol with its creator, Barry Wingard of western PA. He painted it.... pic.twitter.com/s30DF7JRws— Richard Rubin (@RichardRubinDC) June 28, 2017
He later followed up by saying that the “portrait wasn’t commissioned.”
Says it wasn't commissioned. Artist contacted Rep. Mike Kelly. Guys carrying it say it (and companion Melania painting) going to VP office.— Richard Rubin (@RichardRubinDC) June 28, 2017
The president’s portrait was accompanied by Melania Trump’s painting.
One of Melania, too. pic.twitter.com/m8LFMJ1Vzz— Casey J. Wooten (@Casey_J_Wooten) June 28, 2017
The mystery thickened after rumors surfaced the paintings were headed to Vice President Mike Pence's office. However, the vice president’s office stated that "no new artwork was delivered to either the vice president’s House or Senate offices."
MYSTERY: VP spox says office folks on Hill tell him "no new artwork was delivered to either the Vice President’s House or Senate offices." https://t.co/DUI4pPh8aE— Lissandra Villa (@LissandraVilla) June 28, 2017
After a few hours of intense hunting, the paintings were spotted in Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Kelly's office.
In fact, it turned out there weren't just two paintings. There were quite a few…
And it turns out there will be more. (Photo provided by the congressman's office.) pic.twitter.com/VnXdpoSTqr— Lissandra Villa (@LissandraVilla) June 28, 2017
Kelly’s office confirmed the artist, Barry L. Wingard, is a constituent of his and added that three other paintings would also be presented once they were in their “hand-crafted frames.”
“This is a person taking their talent and their time to show their appreciation,” said Kelly.
Wingard told BuzzFeed that he began work on the paintings "probably three or four months ago outside of Rimersburg, Pennsylvania, where he lives. He further added that he drove about five hours to get the paintings to the Capitol.
The artist also said he painted the portraits because he thinks the president “deserves respect.”
“The lack of respect for the president has gone on a little too far," he said.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters