It is axiomatic that all fake news stories are shameless. However, this goes double for a Time magazine reporter who just couldn’t help himself. Standing in the Oval Office, and unable to verify the observation of more than the Churchill bust, Zeek MIller tweeted out that Trump had summarily moved the MLK bust out of the oval Office, in exchange for the Winston Churchill bust.
One firestorm of racial fury unleashed.
Of course, the bust of MLK bust was there – it had never been moved, and all Zeek Miller had to do was crane his wiry little pencil neck to see it. But, somehow, Time magazine is not that deep.
It is customary for the incoming president re-decorate the Oval Office. It is not a big deal, it is part of the grand tradition surrounding the transition. So, in keeping with tradition, the Oval Office had a makeover when President Donald Trump moved in Jan. 20.
The curtains changed from crimson to gold, and a golden rug replaced the old featuring quotes from past presidents. And, an old, symbolic sculpture – the bust of Winston Churchill – came back on display, the Associated Press reported.
But, there was the pesky nonissue of the bust of another famous leader — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Why was it no longer in the Oval Office? Possibly because Trump is a shameless racist? The confusion started on Inauguration Day after fake-news reporter, Zeke Miller, said that the bust of King was no longer in the main office of the president.
Soon after, Trump’s press secretary Sean Spicer tweeted a photo of King’s bust, attributing it to Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff. Spicer even accepted Miller’s apology via tweet, but the damage had been done. The incident apparently angered President Trump. During a visit to the CIA headquarters Jan. 21, Trump said he would never remove King’s bust.
“I would never do that, because I have great respect for Dr. Martin Luther King,” Trump said.
The Churchill Bust
The truth is that the history of the White House busts is long and sordid tale. This is not the first time they have raised an eyebrow in search of a controversy. This is not the first time incorrect information has been circulated about a bust. There has long been a lincoln bust in the Oval Office, more recently there has also been a Churchill bust, and most recently an MLK bust.
Notice how the Democrats attempt to mirror the battles fought previously against Obama.
Earlier, Obama critics had charged that Obama sent the bust of Churchill back to the British Embassy and this was an insult to America’s closest ally. In 2011, Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, said that Obama had removed the bust because “he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.”
Truth be told, there have been no less than two Churchill busts – each sculpted by British sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. A July 2012 blog post titled, “Fact check: The Bust of Winston Churchill” by then White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, sought to settle rumors that Obama had snubbed its ally by getting rid of the Churchill bust.
“This is 100% false. The bust (is) still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room,” Pfeiffer wrote, adding that news outlets had debunked the claim years before, citing National Journal and AP reports that said the bust was relocated in the residence to make room for Lincoln.
It is pretty clear that the Democrats have simply sought to stage the controversy once again, but this time to aim it at Trump. One of the Churchill busts has been in the White House since the 1960s. it is said to be kept in the residence, while the other on display in the Oval Office was lent to George Bush’s (43) administration, by Prime Minister Tony Blair at the start of his presidency in 2001.
The British Embassy told Mediaite in 2012 that it had the Churchill bust in its possession that was lent to Bush, “When that administration came to an end so did the loan; the bust now resides in the British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington, DC.”
When Sir Peter Westmacott ended his tenure as British ambassador to the United States, he told The Guardian in December 2015 that the Churchill bust in the Oval Office was only on loan as a personal gift from Blair to Bush.
“So, to be honest, we always expected that to leave the Oval Office just like everything else that a president has tends to be changed,” Westmacott told The Guardian.
Now, in April 2016, Obama added another chapter to the mystery. Obama mentioned the bust in the White House residence, outside the door of his private office, called the Treaty Room, during a visit to London at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Cameron.
“I love Winston Churchill. I love the guy. Now, when I was elected as president of the United States, my predecessor had kept a Churchill bust in the Oval Office. There are only so many tables where you can put busts — otherwise it starts looking a little cluttered,” Obama said.
He said he thought it was appropriate that as the first African-American president in the United States, he would have in his office a bust of civil rights leader King, “to remind me of all the hard work of a lot of people who would somehow allow me to have the privilege of holding this office.”
During Obama’s time, the Oval office featured busts of Lincoln and King, as the New York Times reported after Obama’s comment.
And now, for Trump’s administration, there’s also Churchill’s bust.
In conclusion, the MLK bust will remain in the Oval Office, the Churchill bust will remain in the Oval Office, the Lincoln bust will remain in the Oval Office, and fake news will remain on the menu if one is an anxiety-ridden, liberal reporter who wants to break an exciting story, whether it is true or not.