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. Dave In Texas

    This is sad for our White House and even worse for the media that has kept this disgusting act under wraps. Imagine if a Tea party person did the while in the White House to a portrait of Obama...CNN and the rest of the leftist main stream media would have labeled this as an International Incident.

    June 24, 2012 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Voltaire

    And St. Ronnie, just like alexithymic Mitt, behaved/behaves badly to middle class Americans.

    June 24, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. BobRayTalbot

    I think the Feds ought to arrest this guy, and throw him in a cell with a few sex offenders. Takes one to know one.

    June 24, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  4. chuck weidemann

    At least Obama stands up against the radical left when out of control....can't say Romney does the same with the radical right!!!! Pandering to all he can ....anything to win!!! Leaders have ethical behavior at least the good ones do.

    June 24, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. Tr1Xen

    Shameful and disrespectful.

    June 24, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  6. Squigman

    Freedom of speech. If republicans are given a pass every time they screw up, the middle finger will never get a workout.

    June 24, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    wow. How classless.

    June 24, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  8. LeftyLosers, Illinois

    The gays brought the Aids epidemic on themselves by anal sex, sharing needles, and other activities their sick lifestyle entails. Typical of the Libs to blame everybody but themselves. Gays are some of the most hateful, volitile people I know.

    June 24, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  9. Bubbatroid

    Wow childish, hateful behavior by members of the radical gay community. What a shock.

    June 24, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. Abigail P.

    Pretty disturbing for a person to act so disrespectful to a dead person, let alone a President who did some great things for the US & the world! To act like childish morons tells us about their character. While aides is a horrible thing, in the 80's it snuck up on everyone, and folks having unprotected sex hold the biggest responsibility for its spread.

    June 24, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. jean2009

    Although Reagan was my least favorite president, these actions are just plain crude. I hope they were ejected from the building.

    June 24, 2012 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    this guy should have been thrown out of the white house. also, back in the days of reagan, people did not know what AIDS was. You want to stop the spread of aids, try self control

    June 24, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. Steve1959

    Will CNN publish my photo when I flip Obama the bird?

    June 24, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  14. Jawad

    I disagree with his politics, but I do respect his foreign policy negotiating. You can't disrespect any president like that, no matter what.

    June 24, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Everyone has their own opinion. The problem is how they express it. I don't agree with everything that Reagan did, but I'd say that like I just did. George W. Bush was one of the worst presidents that this country has had in the recent past, but I wouldn't do that.

    June 24, 2012 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  16. Pete

    Its fine to speak your mind, but this is disrespectful. Is it illegal? No. Should ANYONE approve of this? No.

    June 24, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. Go away

    Finally, the White House disciplines crass and trashy behavior of their misbehaving guests. President Reagan still is one of the best Presidents in history, and would likely just laugh at the two fools. After 20 years of harboring their anger, Strauss and Hart have finally garnered attention in their meaningless and insignificant lives, for all to ridicule.

    June 24, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. yolanda

    Did Hart criticize gays for not doing more to prevent the spread of AIDS, or is that taboo in his politically correct little world?

    June 24, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  19. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    I agree wholeheartedly! Although since everone is allowing people to diss the President....maybe that is just the way it has to be. Show disrepect to one President show direspect to all the Presidents. Reagan was a great President wheather or not one is Democrat, Republican or Independent!! He was a great communicator! I think the Republicans have brought about such uncivil behavior toward the office of President because they hate the man. They made a quote from the outset of President Obama's Presidency that they wanted him to fail...and so they became the Party of NO if it had anything to do with the President. In the process millions of Americans were hurt in the process! What poor sportsmen the Republican Party is to America!! They have hurt us more than the bad guys!!

    June 24, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  20. Charlie from the North

    Agree with the sentiment not the action.

    June 24, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. Jerry

    This is totally repulsive ... respect for what these two stand for will no doubt take a tumble ... worse than the Crash of 1929 and the stock market .. and they DO deserve it all ...

    I do NOT have a problem with them speaking out ... have worked with gay and lesbians and have a true honest working relationship and respect both the men and women I speak of ... but to me .. a childish act such as this shows how petty and self centered these two are.

    Nuff said

    June 24, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  22. Elliott Carlin

    To the diversity and sensitive minded, please keep this behavior up. It sets your cause back about 100 years with us normals.

    Silly people-like you really scored some points.

    June 24, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  23. c'mon america

    Rude and disrespectfull . Talk about your poor winners , not to mention the position they put their host in . No class whatsoever !

    June 24, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  24. j

    those guys are total jackwagons
    they should be locked up

    June 24, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  25. Jack

    Hey, I thought only Republicans like Neil Munro would ever be so classless as to disrespect a president in such a juvenile manner. Good to see balance restored. But I agree. Somebody has to be blamed for forcing people to sleep with a multitude of strangers with no protection and no common sense, might as well be Reagan.

    June 24, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
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