Contrary to Earlier White House Denials, Obama Admits to Banishing Bust of Winston Churchill
(p. A7) HANOVER, Germany -- It has been, perhaps, one of the most enduring mysteries of President Obama's tenure: What really happened to the bust of Winston Churchill that was once displayed in the Oval Office?
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The conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, the onetime Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a current Republican presidential candidate, are among those who have chastised Mr. Obama over the years for returning the bust to the British.
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Dan Pfeiffer, the president's communications director at the time, blasted Mr. Krauthammer, calling his charge about the disappearing bust "100 percent false" and saying that "news outlets have debunked this claim time and again."
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But late last week, Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, renewed the charge, writing in a British tabloid that the Oval Office bust had been "banished" . . .
Countering such charges is typically left to a president's aides. But asked at a news conference Friday about the mayor's comments, Mr. Obama seemed to relish the chance to set everyone straight, once and for all, about the fate of the Churchill bust.
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. . . Mr. Obama went on to explain what had happened to the bust lent by Mr. Blair, the one that critics had accused him of summarily sending back to the British. It was, Mr. Obama said, his decision to return that Churchill to his native land, because he wanted to replace it with a bust of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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That appears to contradict the longstanding denials by White House officials, including Mr. Pfeiffer, that neither Mr. Obama nor anyone else in his administration had chosen to dispatch Churchill's likeness in favor of someone else's. By Mr. Obama's admission, he made the decision to replace the Churchill bust with one of Dr. King.
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(Note: the online version of the story has the date April 24, 2016, and has the title "White House Letter; No Need for Holmes; Obama Sheds Light on a Winston Churchill Mystery.")