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Trump Surprises First Batch of White House Visitors

Trump Surprises White House Tour Guests 0:52

President Donald Trump on Tuesday made a surprise appearance in front of the first group of White House visitors since his inauguration.

And looking over his shoulder was former rival Hillary Clinton.

Trump greeted a group of about 100 people touring the East Wing of the White House and waved from behind a velvet rope flanked by a portrait of former First Lady Hillary Clinton adorning the wall.

The first White House tour of the Trump presidency came considerably later than previous administrations. Tour requests are generally handled by the first lady's office, but this year's process has experienced a slow start with Melania Trump spending most of her time in New York City.

Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House on March 7. A portrait of former first lady Hillary Clinton hangs on the wall. Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump pulled Jack Cornish, 10, out of the crowd to greet him as the visitors took photos and cheered. Most of the onlookers were with a fifth grade tour group from Briarwood Christian School in Birmingham, Alabama, according to a White House pool report.

White House tours are free, but tickets are tough to get and are a highlight for tourists visiting the nation's capital. Partisanship is often put aside for a chance to see the historic building up close.

For Kim and Glenn Pacheco from Tucson, Arizona, the third time signing up was the charm for getting a tour. Though Glenn Pacheco calls himself a Republican and a Trump supporter, the draw of the White House had little to do with party lines.

"I would've wanted to come and see the White House just because of the history and because it’s one of the most respected offices on Earth — regardless of who’s in the position," he told NBC News after the tour.

He had the chance to join the first tour group that got to see the president, but opted instead to go later so that his wife could join him.

Those post-partisan feelings also extended to the Gnadt family from Allen, Texas.

"It's the seat of our presidency," Jay Gnadt said after his tour. "It's a political statement, but it's not political either."

Image: Trump surprises tourists at the White House in Washington
A young girl reacts after President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance in front of her White House tour group on March 7. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

His daughters echoed the sentiment, seeming surprised that this eye of the nation's political storm could offer a respite from the high-tension politics that often consumes the news cycle.

"You'd imagine it being very political, but it wasn't," one of the Gnadt daughters said. "You just got to enjoy yourself."