US & Canada

Rhode Island teacher's fan steals Trump's thunder

Nikos Giannopoulos with Donald and Melania Trump. and a flag Image copyright Shealah Craighead
Image caption Teacher Nikos Giannopoulos giving it some attitude in his official White House photo

It takes a certain something to steal the limelight when standing next to the world's most powerful man.

Luckily, Nikos Giannopoulos knew exactly what that something would be when he walked into the Oval Office: a fan.

And thanks to that one, rather unusual object, the photo of the special education teacher, the US president and the first lady has gone viral.

Celebrating joy and freedom

The 29-year-old had travelled to Washington from his home after being named Rhode Island Teacher of the Year.

Along with teachers from every state, he was invited to the White House to meet Donald Trump - and he made very specific decisions about what to wear.

In a Facebook post, he revealed he wore a rainbow pin, in "gratitude to the LGBTQ community", a blue jacket and black fan to "celebrate the joy and freedom of gender nonconformity", and an anchor necklace in honour of the Rhode Island.

It was the fan - which belonged to Mr Giannopoulos's partner - which really stole the show.

He told NPR that, despite the president's immediate appreciation for the fan, which he praised as "stylish", Mr Giannopoulos was told by White House staff to put it away for the official picture.

But he decided to quietly keep it by his side until it was time for the photo.

"I just asked the president, 'Do you mind if I use the fan for the photo?' He said, 'Absolutely go for it.' So I popped my fan and did my pose."

The result? A viral photo which has been "liked" thousands of times.

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