On Wednesday, reporters on Washington, D.C.'s Capitol Hill noticed something odd -- some very young men hauling around a painted portrait of President Donald Trump. Soon after, BuzzFeed, National Journal and Wall Street Journal reporters took on "the case of the mysterious Trump portraits on the Hill."
This just came into the Capitol with its creator, Barry Wingard of western PA. He painted it.... https://t.co/s30DF7JRws— Richard Rubin (@Richard Rubin) 1498669426.0
The first person to alert the Internet to the large Trump portrait being toted around the Hill was Wall Street Journal reporter Richard Rubin, who snapped a pic of the portrait and it's incredibly young bearers. He followed the photo up by saying that the portrait "wasn't commissioned," and that the then-anonymous artist had
"contacted Rep. Mike Kelly. Guys carrying it say it (and companion Melania painting) going to VP office."
One of Melania, too. https://t.co/m8LFMJ1Vzz— Casey J. Wooten (@Casey J. Wooten) 1498669216.0
A few hours later, another portrait bearing a similar style was spotted -- this time of First Lady Melania Trump. National Journal reporter Casey J. Wooten found that one, and soon, the story got deeper.
MYSTERY: VP spox says office folks on Hill tell him "no new artwork was delivered to either the Vice President’s Ho… https://t.co/WyJShxwyBi— Lissandra Villa (@Lissandra Villa) 1498675131.0
With no indication of where the portrait was headed, the enterprising Villa tracked down the portrait's rightful home -- and soon after, got some shade from another of the journalists who helped solve the "mystery."
I'm working on tracking down more info. I ran up and down several sets of stairs trying to find these paintings. Will keep you posted.— Lissandra Villa (@Lissandra Villa) 1498675188.0
I found them in @MikeKellyPA's office. https://t.co/6HNbbxXR5F— Lissandra Villa (@Lissandra Villa) 1498687518.0
@MikeKellyPA And it turns out there will be more. (Photo provided by the congressman's office.) https://t.co/VnXdpoSTqr— Lissandra Villa (@Lissandra Villa) 1498687744.0
@LissandraVilla I'm going to go back to tax policy now and let you and @Fahrenthold and whoever else is on the portrait beat solve this one.— Richard Rubin (@Richard Rubin) 1498675306.0
The artist was soon identified as Barry L. Wingard, a constituent of Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) who told BuzzFeed he painted them of his own volition because he thinks Trump "deserves respect."