The White House on Friday rebuked two visitors who were photographed last week at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue flipping the middle finger below a portrait of the late President Ronald Reagan.
The guests had been invited to a reception last Friday marking gay pride month. The images of them -- with both middle fingers raised, pointing up toward Reagan -- were first published by Philadelphia Magazine.
The White House did not approve.
"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."
Last Friday, an attaché of important gay people from Philadelphia made a trip to Washington D.C. as invited guests of President Barack Obama for the White House’s first-ever gay pride reception. There, they danced to the sounds of a Marine Corps band; they dined on crab cakes and canapés; they hand-delivered letters from concerned citizens like this 18-year old who has had four people close to him gunned down, and noted rhyming raconteur CA Conrad; and some of them took advantage of photo opportunities to give the late President Ronald Reagan the middle finger.
But his counterparts couldn’t seem to care less. Hart posted his photo on Facebook with the caption, “Fuck Reagan.” Strauss simply posted hers without commentary. After all, the murderous facial expression and double-barreled bird-flipping seem to speak for themselves. Comments ranged from “you forgot to add with a chainsaw” on Hart’s “Fuck Reagan” note, to my personal favorite, “star wars … up yours,” on Strauss’s.
Strauss, who is also seen here, kissing her partner beneath the Reagan portrait, declined to comment for this story (“I’m keeping out of the press!” she texted me), but made crystal clear her position on Reagan by posting on Facebook a long list of things that happened under his watch, including the Supreme Court’s Bowers v. Hardwick decision, upholding the constitutionality of Georgia’s anti-sodomy law, the Iran-Contra affair and the invasion of Grenada.
“Yeah, fuck Reagan,” reiterates Hart one week after the reception. “Ronald Reagan has blood on his hands. The man was in the White House as AIDS exploded, and he was happy to see plenty of gay men and queer people die. He was a murderous fool, and I have no problem saying so. Don’t invite me back. I don’t care.”