CBS – INSIDE EDITION:
Michael Israel, the artist who painted the Trump portrait spoke to Inside Edition, saying: “I thought how cool would it be to paint Donald Trump in Donald Trump’s house with Donald Trump there.”
Israel is an internationally-known speed painter, who once completed a portrait of John Lennon in seven minutes.
He painted the portrait of Trump for a charity auction held at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate in 2007. The painting “looked like he had a pretty intense stare,” Israel said.
He added: “I always found that Trump had this power about him.”
The artist says Melania Trump bid $20,000 for the painting at the auction.
“[The] initial bid started at $10,000 and then she graciously raised her hand and made it $20,000,” he said.
Trump reportedly used his own charitable foundation to pay for it, a troubling transaction that’s currently being investigated by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The Trump campaign hit back, calling Schneiderman “a partisan hack” and the investigation, “nothing more than another left wing hit job.” Schneiderman is a Democrat.
The probe came after a scathing report on Trump’s foundation in The Washington Post Wednesday which claims it found some “troubling transactions,” including the claim that Trump used $20,000 of the organization’s funds to buy the portrait.
President Obama mocked the existence of the portrait at a rally in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
“The other candidate’s foundation took money that other people gave to his charity and bought a 6-foot painting of himself,” Obama said.
The Washington Post report says the portrait may be in the clubhouse at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, New York.