US embassy responds to Winston Churchill bust controversy
The United States Embassy in London responded Friday to a controversy surrounding President Biden’s removal of a bust of the former Prime Minister Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, stating that the special relationship the two countries share is more than “just a bust.”
In a tweet issued Friday, the embassy shared a video highlighting the “special relationship” both the United Kingdom and the U.S. have shared. The video states that the bust of the British wartime leader, which has appeared in the Oval Office of several presidents including former President Trump, is “just a bust.”
The video then states that the two nations are “the largest investors in each other’s countries.”
“This is the special relationship,” the text of the video reads.
We’ve seen some discussion about the Churchill Bust, so we just wanted to remind everyone what the Special Relationship is truly about pic.twitter.com/XOdff8hbcd
— U.S. Embassy London (@USAinUK) January 22, 2021
The clip also features images of both British and American soldiers standing beside one another, and various photographs of former U.S. presidents shaking hands with former prime ministers, including former President Obama high-fiving former Prime Minister David Cameron.
For years dating back to the First World War, the United States and the United Kingdom have maintained a “special relationship.” During World War II, Churchill and former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt worked together closely to defeat Nazi Germany.
The U.S. Embassy’s tweet addressed controversy after Biden removed the bust from the Oval Office when he redecorated the room. Biden has redecorated his office with a bust of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and Latino civil rights icon Caesar Chavez.
Several British tabloids characterized the removal of the bust as a “snub,” including the U.K.’s The Sun.
Another headline from the conservative Daily Mail read, “Fury as Joe Biden REMOVES bust of Boris Johnson’s hero Winston Churchill from the Oval Office – and replaces it with RFK, Rosa Parks, a Latino American civil rights activist and Martin Luther King.”
However, British officials have sought to give little weight to the change, according to The Washington Post.
“It’s of course up to the President to decorate the Oval Office as he wishes,” a British government spokesperson said in a statement emailed to reporters, according to the newspaper. “We’re in no doubt about the importance President Biden places on the UK-US relationship.”
Trump placed the bust in the Oval Office during his presidency and was photographed with former Prime Minister Teresa May pointing at the object. Obama did not have the bust in the room.
The video from the embassy also comes as Biden and Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s relationship is under the microscope. Johnson has previously had a good relationship with Trump and has publicly praised the former president in the past.