What is the big deal with the Rhode Island Teacher of the Year striking a flamboyant pose while at the White House with President Trump and First Lady Melania? There is so much hoopla over the teacher being “visibly queer,” which is how the Washington Post describes how Nikos Giannopoulo appeared for his photo op with the first couple. This special education teacher is pictured standing in the Oval Office with the President and Melania Trump and since they seem to be enjoying his company, there shouldn’t be much discussion over this, but there is.
Well, maybe the fan he is holding in his hand is a bit much for a man or a woman unless it’s a scorching hot day, but this is not just any man or woman. This is Nikos Giannopoulos, who from all accounts is just being himself. This picture has been called “defiant,” “bold,” and a “photobomb” of the president and first lady. Donald and Melania Trump don’t look at all like photobomb victims, they actually look like they are enjoying Nikos livening things up a bit. Those don’t look like staged smiles on the faces of the president and the first lady, they look genuine. Look at Melania in the picture, she is really sporting a big smile, not just a grin.
According to NBC News, Giannopoulos showed up for his White House visit after traveling from Rhode Island where he works and lives. He won the Rhode Island Teacher of the Year award and he traveled to the White House for this visit with the president and first lady as part of the perks of this award.
This picture has had so many connotations attached to it since it was posted this week on Facebook. While Nikos does hint at making an attempt to bring Gay Pride into the White House, he does say what you are seeing is how he usually dresses and acts.
The picture, which was taken back in April, was posted to Nikos’ Facebook page with the caption, “Rhode Island Teacher of the Year 2017 meets the 45th President of the United States. That’s all.” He finished this caption with three emojis of rainbows.
— Stephen Mayne (@MayneReport) June 17, 2017
Nikos had posted this picture previously to Facebook, but it didn’t go viral like it did this week He wrote in that previous post that he went to the White House donning a rainbow pin to “represent my gratitude for the LGBTQ community” and brought the fan “to celebrate the joy and freedom of gender nonconformity.”
He did share with NPR News that the president told him, “I love the fan.” He also said that Trump complimented him on his style almost immediately after meeting him. This picture was taken for the annual Teacher of the Year awards, which are held in Washington. One of the group photos is seen at the top of this page.
Nikos said that the White House staff asked him to put the fan away for the photo op, but he kept it close by his side. When it came time for the picture, he asked the president if he minded the fan appearing in the picture with him. Nikos said Trump’s answer was, “‘Absolutely, go for it!’ So I popped my fan and did my pose,” Nikos said as reported by the New Daily.
The comments across the social media sites vary with some saying that Mr. Giannopoulos was “disrespectful” to the president. Others said he was acting “defiant” and still others said he “photobombed” the first couple. While there were a few disparaging remarks, there were more words of praise for this teacher of the year than anything else.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]