BUST OF FRIENDS
Donald Trump has asked for bust of Winston Churchill to be put back in the Oval Office after Obama replaced it with Martin Luther King
The request was put to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson three days ago
BY TOM NEWTON DUNN, POLITICAL EDITOR
10th January 2017, 9:54 pm
DONALD Trump has asked Britain to send Winston Churchill’s bust back to the White House so he can return it to the Oval Office, The Sun can reveal.
The request was put to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson by the President Elect’s senior advisers during talks in New York three days ago.
Trump has asked for the bust to be returned
Last night, Downing Street confirmed that Theresa May has agreed to a loan of the famous sculpture again.
The gesture marks a diplomatic coup for the PM in her bid to win influence over the unpredictable new US leader.
A bitter row over the bust’s location has raged for seven years since outgoing President Barack Obama replaced the wartime leader’s image with one of Martin Luther King in 2009.
This is a win for Theresa May over Nigel Farage who has already met with Donald Trump
Since then, it has been kept at the British Embassy in Washington DC.
Trump’s closest advisers Jared Kushner and Steven Bannon relayed the request for the bust’s return after revealing their boss was a big fan of the legendary Tory, and had even read Boris’s biography of him.
A No10 spokesman told The Sun last night: “The Prime Minister is happy to loan the Churchill bust to the White House and will be delighted to view it on display when she visits this Spring”.
Barack Obama replaced the Churchill bust with one of Martin Luther King
The bust – by British artist Sir Jacob Epstein – was originally presented to George W. Bush in July 2001 and stayed in his office through out his presidency.
The idea of returning it to the Oval Office was first suggested to the property billionaire by ex-UKIP boss Nigel Farage in November last year, when he became the first British politician to visit him after the US election.
Boris renewed the controversy during the EU referendum campaign with a stinging attack on Mr Obama.
Hitting back at the US leader’s backing for the Remain campaign, Mr Johnson said the bust’s removal was evidence of his “ancestral dislike of the British Empire”.
But the controversy deepened when Mr Obama then insisted he kept a second identical sculpture of Churchill in his White House private quarters, declaring “I love the guy”.
Bush was presented with the bust in 2001
Churchill, who had an American mother, is the only person ever to be granted an honorary US passport.
Mr Trump enters the White House in 10 days time when he is formally inaugurated on January 20.
Reporting on his US trip to the Commons, Boris told MPs yesterday he had been “frank” over major policy disagreements such as Russia and Iran.