President Trump showed up to surprise a White House tour for a few minutes Tuesday, on the first day the White House has been open to tourists since Inauguration Day.
Mr. Trump emerged from behind a French screen to a throng of cheering tourists - many of them fifth graders from Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama - who had packed into the East Wing of the White House, hoping to catch a glimpse of the 45th president.
“Oh my god!” they shouted as the president stretched his arms open to announce his arrival.
He appeared immediately underneath a White House portrait of former rival and former First Lady Hillary Clinton, and told delighted children from Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, Ala. to “work hard, everybody, work hard.” Throughout Mr. Trump’s short appearance, it was hard not to notice the giant portrait of Clinton hanging alongside him.
The White House has been closed for tours since Inauguration Day as the new administration sorted out staffing and other logistics needed to usher in visitors to the 217-year-old house.
The president randomly pulled one young boy from the crowd - 10-year old Jack Cornish from Birmingham - hugging him and patting him on the shoulders before sending him back to the crowd of envious schoolmates.
One of them shouted, “You’re famous, Jack!”
President Bill Clinton and wife Hillary Clinton opened the White House to tours the day after they moved in January 1993. The Clintons welcomed some 1,000 winners of a lottery drawing along with then-Vice President Al Gore and his wife, Tipper.
George Washington’s portrait graced the event that day.
Under the Obama administration, the director of the White House Visitors Office welcomed some 3 million tourists.