White House criticizes visitors flipping off Reagan portrait
A picture of Matthew Hart's Facebook page.
June 24th, 2012
05:17 PM ET
10 years ago

White House criticizes visitors flipping off Reagan portrait

(CNN) - The White House chided two visitors who posed for photographs in the White House while giving the middle finger to a portrait of former President Ronald Reagan.

The guests visited 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue as part of a reception marking gay pride month and the pictures were later included in a Philadelphia Magazine article.

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A White House spokesman said such behavior does not belong at the White House.

“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. Most all do," Shin Inouye, a White House spokesman, said. "These individuals clearly did not. Behavior like this doesn’t belong anywhere, least of all in the White House."

According to the Magazine story, the two visitors, photographer Zoe Strauss and Matthew Hart, director for public engagement at Solution for Progress, posted the photos on their Facebook pages.

Hart also included disparaging remarks directed toward the former president on his page.

CNN was not able to reach either subjects, but Hart defended his gesture to the magazine and criticized Reagan for not doing more to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Filed under: Ronald Reagan • White House
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Jane

    Just shows how "classy" people can be. In the 1980's AIDS was being recognized. Technology and medical awareness has come a long way since Regan was President. To blame him for not doing enough is just ignorant. I would venture to believe most of the people visiting were just teens then and had no idea what was going on. Just saying..........

    June 24, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Brian

    Wow, can you imagine what woudl the media do if a guest of a republican President showed up and gave Clinton or Obama the same treatment??

    June 24, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. rla

    Just some more civil progressives!!!

    June 24, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. CA Dream USA

    Right on Hart..love the photo....

    June 24, 2012 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. Mark

    One bad apple spoils the bunch!

    June 24, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. chris

    Hart said that the blood of many AID's patients was on Reagan's hands. The true blood is on the hands of those with AIDs who willfully infected other people, and cared little for their consequences. The true monuments of those people are the tombstones and ashes of innocent AIDs victims.

    June 24, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Michael Wheeler

    It's people like these who make life for gay people very difficult in many parts of this country. They should ashamed but they are not. They have no shame. They have no soul. They have no character.

    June 24, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  8. Old But I remember Everything

    This is what our country has become rude, arrogant, selfish and just uncivilized. I always thought we were better than this but after what I have seen since the late 90's I don't think so. Respect all Presidents and be happy you live in this country. Freedom of speech and expression does not mean disrespect for our Presidents. No I did not vote for President Reagan but I respected him as our President. I really wish this person that did this would have been escorted out of The White House. He disrespected all of us when he did this because The White House belongs to all of us.

    June 24, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  9. Penobscot

    Liberals are so classy.

    June 24, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. Getoverit

    There's a couple of geniuses...

    June 24, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. Dana

    And they wonder ( homosexuals ) why they are considered an abomination to God.

    June 24, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. Fire0bama

    These are 0bama supporters. What else can we expect from them?

    June 24, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. Jay in NC

    Typical liberal hate.

    June 24, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. Greyman

    Today's GOP proved that civility is an illusion, and much of it snowballed from when that gasbag first took office. Two flipped birds is nowhere near harsh enough.

    June 24, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Dana

    I hope the White House Black Lists all other groups with agendas from any government buildings that have tours and arrests anyone that defiles them with words or gestures.

    June 24, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  16. Thomas

    I understand how they feel , yet show some respect for the vessel of the White House.

    June 24, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  17. Toby McDooogan

    What else would you expect.

    June 24, 2012 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  18. joyce

    Can't blame President Reagan because they have aids or for the spread of it. It is from a choice they made

    June 24, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. joe smith

    so the former president somehow was to invade the privacy of the adults he governs, and admonish their vile behavior..these two folks need to be put in the same cell with sandusky..now that would be quite the three some..

    June 24, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. Bill

    At least they didn't do something really disrespectful like calling the President a liar during the State of the Union speech, pointing their finger in his face, or interrupting him during a statement.

    June 24, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  21. wait a moment

    Wasn't Ronald Reagan famous for supporting gay rights for teachers (and even under a guise that compelled even "closet homophobics" to help pass the measure)? And I think his son is a prominent gay marriage supporter at that. Just another sign of blind partisan ignorance on both sides of the table.

    June 24, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    Yep, it was pretty childish form of protest. I understand their sentiment, though ... one of the few good things I can say about Reagan is at least he was able to admit his mistake with trickle-down economics and had the stones to raise taxes 11 times during his presidency when he saw how his failed economic policies resulted in creating mountains of debt.

    June 24, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. Angry Gay Losers

    We live and die for the 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech, but these angry, gay/lesbian Losers lack any manners or class worthy of being a guest at the White House. Publicly disrespecting the memory of President Reagan apparently is the major accomplishment in their small, insignificant lives.

    June 24, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. pditty

    What a nice way to endear your cause and opinions to conservatives. The word jerk comes to mind.

    June 24, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. g

    reagan the guy that shipped america to mexico-republicans are always shipping america some where

    June 24, 2012 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
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