Barack and Michelle Obama
Barack and Michelle ObamaReuters

Former US President Barack Obama and his wife, former first lady Michelle Obama, returned to the White House for the first time on Wednesday to unveil their official portraits, Reuters reported.

Hosted by President Joe Biden more than five years after Obama left office, the Obamas basked in applause from former staff members assembled in the East Room and lauded the artists for capturing their images which will now hang in the White House.

The event was a reunion of sorts for Obama administration officials and for the Obamas and Bidens, who grew close during the eight years Biden served as Obama's vice president.

"There are few people I have known with more integrity, more decency and more courage than Barack Obama," Biden said during the ceremony. "Nothing could have prepared more for being president of the United States than being by your side for eight years."

Customarily, a former president returns for the unveiling of his portrait during his successor's tenure, but a ceremony for the Obamas did not take place during President Donald Trump's administration.

In his remarks, Obama thanked Biden, his vice president between 2009 and 2017, for building on the work they did together.

"Thanks to your decency and thanks to your strength, maybe most of all thanks to your faith in our democracy and the American people, the country’s better off than when you took office and we should all be deeply grateful to you for that,” Obama said.

Michelle Obama appeared to take note of the refusal by Trump to accept the results of the 2020 election.

“You see the people that make their voices heard with their vote. We hold an inauguration to ensure a peaceful transition of power," she said, according to Reuters. "Once our time is up we move on.”