After the attacks of September 11th, 2001 the British government gave the United States a bust of Winston Churchill. That bust has been kept on display in the Oval Office until the arrival of Barack Obama. Frank Gaffney reports in the Washington Times:
It is no secret that Team Obama is all about symbolism and messaging. So presumably it was no accident that one of the new president’s first gestures was to have a bust of Winston Churchill given to the United States by the British government removed from the Oval Office.
Mr. Obama didn’t have it relocated to another prestigious location in the White House complex – say, the Cabinet Room or even the First Family’s residence. Neither did he choose to put it on display in the Smithsonian, where this likeness of the greatest honorary American could have been enjoyed and revered by the rest of us. No, President Obama had it sent back to the British, who would be entitled to feel offended as well as appalled.
If indeed this explicit disassociation with one of the iconic heroes of the last century was meant to convey a symbolic message, the question occurs: Precisely which message and for whom was it intended?
Why would a sitting president send back such a gift? Gaffney takes a guess and states:
Alternatively, the banishing of the Churchill bust may have been part of the new president’s campaign to “respect” Islam. After all, the former prime minister took a dim view of the Koran and adherents to the brutally repressive theo-political-legal program its authorities call Shariah.
You may or may not agree with his guess but you’ll probably agree with Gaffney’s closing statement.
Perhaps Mr. Obama will ask Her Majesty’s Government for a bust of Neville Chamberlain to adorn the Oval Office?
A perfect match.