Trump portrait adorns Colorado Capitol after Putin prank

Posted at 9:04 PM, Aug 01, 2019

DENVER (AP) — President Donald Trump finally joined the Colorado state Capitol's wall of presidential portraits on Thursday, a year after a prankster placed a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin near the spot intended for him.

Colorado Republicans raised more than $10,000 through a GoFundMe account in 2018 to commission the oil painting by Sarah Boardman, an artist who also produced the Capitol's portrait of President Barack Obama.

"It's only fitting that a populist such as the president would have the first crowdfunded campaign for a presidential portrait, with contributions as small as $5 and as large as $500," former Senate President Kevin Grantham said in the Capitol's third-floor rotunda Thursday.

"Whether this portrait brings a smile or a scowl to your face, remember that you have the right to do so because this is the United States of America," the Republican added.

Trump supporter Jerry Grotkier, 74, who drove from his home in the Colorado Springs area about 80 miles (129 kilometers) south of Denver, said it was an honor to attend the ceremony.

"I think it does him great justice. I've seen unattractive portraits of him with a big, fat chin and whatever. He's the energizer bunny that we've all been waiting for," he said. "I was a Trump supporter as soon as he ran."

Grotkier, who donned a "Trump 2020" baseball cap and a T-shirt emblazoned with an eagle and an American flag, said his only concern is that the portrait will be vandalized.

"It's unfortunate, but I think it will happen," he said.

Last year, an aide to former House Speaker Crisanta Duran, a Democrat, was punished for helping a progressive group put the picture of Putin on brief display.

Katie March used her security badge to allow a member of ProgressNow Colorado into the Capitol with the picture of Putin. A tour guide removed it.