The White House officially reopened to public tours on Tuesday (7 March) for the first time since President Donald Trump's inauguration.

The highlight of the day came when a group of children touring the presidential residence received the surprise of a lifetime when Trump welcomed them with a brief personal appearance.

Cheers erupted from the tour group when the president emerged behind a wooden screen with his arms opened wide. According to ABC News, Trump motioned towards the group of children in the tour, before personally greeting, and taking a photo with, 10-year-old Jack Cornish from Birmingham, Alabama.

"Work hard everybody, work hard," the president told the tour group as he pointed to the school children before retreating behind the screen.

The quick appearance happened to unfold next to the official portrait of first lady Hillary Clinton, Trump's opponent during the presidential election. Pool reporters were present at the time but were not allowed to ask Trump questions, The New York Times reported.

The Tuesday tour was the first after a seven-week hiatus granted to allow Trump and his staff to settle into the White House.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) took the Trump administration to task last month for not reopening the tours sooner. "Whoever monitors twitter at WH for businessman president Trump 'when is WH going to be opened for public tours?' Mrs G wants to know," Grassley tweeted on 12 February.

First Lady Melania Trump subsequently announced that tours would resume in a statement released soon after. "I am excited to reopen the White House to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come each year," she said.

"The White House is a remarkable and historic site and we are excited to share its beauty and history. I am committed to the restoration and preservation of our nation's most recognisable landmark."

Donald Trump
A young girl reacts after US President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance in front of her White House tour group in Washington on 7 March 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Thousands of visitors tour the White House every year. According to the White House Visitors Office, tours are typically self-guided and take around 45 minutes. Eight rooms of the White House are open to the public.