Donald Trump just posed with a big fan — and he seemed pretty excited about it.
The fan in question — a delicate, black lace number wielded by Rhode Island school teacher Nikos Giannopoulos for a photo op — elicited an uncharacteristically wide grin from the otherwise beleaguered president.
Giannopoulos didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the picture. And, of course, presidents don’t typically have a lot of time for photo ops.
But they both made the moment count.
In honor of being named Rhode Island's 2017 Teacher of the Year, Giannapoulos was invited to the Oval Office last week to stand alongside the president and first lady Melania Trump. He made sure to wear his rainbow LGBTQ pin and bring along his fan — a gift his partner bought for him five years ago, according to NPR.
Since then Giannapoulos, who admits to having a flare for campy props, has brought it just about everywhere he goes.
So of course he had it with him at the White House.
Trump’s staff, on the other hand, were not blown away by the fan. In fact, Giannopoulos was told he would have to put it away for the shoot.
But Giannapoulos, who teaches special education at Beacon Charter High School for the Arts, offered us all a lesson in persistence.
He asked Trump if he could pose with his beloved fan.
According to the interview Giannapoulos gave to NPR, the fan had already caught Trump’s eye when they first met.
“He said, ‘I love the fan!’ Giannapoulos recalled. “And he told me I had great style.”
So when the teacher asked him again once they were all inside the Oval Office, Trump offered an enthusiastic affirmative.
“He said, ‘Absolutely go for it,” Giannapoulos said.
And thus, an internet sensation was born.
The picture, posted on Giannapoulos’ Facebook page last Thursday, has already garnered more than 22,000 likes, to go along with nearly 6,000 shares.
And no, Nikos Giannopoulos wasn’t trying to fan any political flames with his gesture — although the openly gay teacher had every reason to put the president in the hot seat over his position on transgender issues.
“The issue with being openly queer is our existence is constantly politicized,” he told the Washington Post. “They never stop to think: Oh, maybe that’s just who I am.”
Instead, Giannapoulos seized an exceptionally rare moment to introduce himself as, well, himself. And his fan as ... a fan.
And the pin?
"I wore a rainbow pin to represent my gratitude for the LGBTQ community that has taught me to be proud, bold, and empowered by my identity," he noted in a Facebook post. "Even when circumstances make that difficult."
And along the way, we’re all enriched for getting to know him.
“The reason I remain a teacher today is that nothing I have ever done makes me feel as good as teaching does,” Giannapoulos noted in a press release. “I truly believe that the life of a public servant is as much a gift to the servant as it is to the people he is serving.”
Well, maybe this teacher of the year does, inadvertently, have a lesson for the 45th American president, after all.