Hours after officially becoming the 45th president of the United States Friday, President Donald Trump, who is known to appreciate his ancestral ties to Scotland, kept his campaign promise of returning the bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office.
The sculpture originally was displayed in the Oval Office, a gift from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to former President George W Bush, the Telegraph reported Friday. But the piece created by British sculptor Jacob Epstein was removed by Barack Obama in 2009, who replaced it with a bust of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
After Obama’s action triggered outcries from government officials in both the U.S. and the Britain, Obama sheepishly said he kept a personal statue of Churchill in his private office in the domestic quarters of the White House. Obama said he preferred it there so he could see it every day. The mayor of London at the time, Boris Johnson, called the move a “snub to Britain,” and suggested the artwork be returned to British Embassy. Johnson said Obama’s actions were inspired by his “ancestral dislike of the British Empire.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in 2011 that Obama's decision to remove the Churchill bust was "a great insult to the British."
“My private office is called the Treaty Room. Right outside the door of the Treaty Room so that I see it every day, including on weekends when I’m going into that office to watch a basketball game, the primary image I see is a bust of Winston Churchill,” Obama told a joint news conference with former British Prime Minister David Cameron on April 22, 2016.
But the Martin Luther King statue remained in the Oval Office as Trump assumed the role of commander-in-chief Friday, the New York Times reported. Along with the Churchill bust being spotted by reporters when Trump signed a number of documents immediately upon arriving at the Oval Office, Sean Spicer, a representative of Trump, tweeted a photo of King’s statue on display on a wood desk.
Winston Churchill served as Britain’s prime minister during World War II and is known for his relationship with former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in their combined efforts to win the war.