-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
To deflect attention away from the Romney fiasco that his trip to England has become, Charles Krauthammer resurrected an old story: “Obama started his presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office.” The inference is that this story demonstrates animus between Obama and Britain. The bust had been loaned to then-President George W. Bush from the U.K.’s government art collection, for the duration of his presidency.
As is common practice at the end of a presidency, the White House curator removed all the art lent to the departing tenant. The bust was returned and is on display at the British Ambassador’s residence. According to White House curator William Allman, the decision to return the bust had been made before Obama even arrived.
It turns out that there are two Churchill busts. Another Churchill bust, also by Jacob Epstein, was given to the White House during the Lyndon Johnson administration. That bust is on display in the White House residence and is seen in this photo of Obama with Prime Minister David Cameron.
While Krauthammer does his best to deflect attention from what the British press have dubbed “Mitt The Twit,” the facts don’t support his assertions. James Barbour, press secretary and head of communications for the British Embassy, said “[t]he Churchill Bust story is a silly diversion.” When the spokesman for the British Embassy refers to Krauthammer’s claim as a “silly diversion,” it should be embarrassing for any self-respecting journalist.