The last eight years have been an obvious attempt by President Barack Obama to cut the United States down to size, with Obama doing his best to prove to the world that America is not unlike any other country. You may remember when asked early in his presidency about how he felt about American exceptionalism, Obama responded, “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, or the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” You may also remember his frequent apology tours throughout the world, from his 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt, to his speech at Hiroshima, Japan, last year.
One egregious action of Obama’s early in his presidency, further demonstrating his ideology, was the almost prophetical removal of the bust of former British Prime Minister and World War II hero, Winston Churchill from the Oval Office, gifted to President George W. Bush in 2001 from England. The bust remained in the Oval Office until Obama removed it in 2009, and has since remained in the British embassy in Washington.
However, last weekend, President-elect Donald Trump, through senior advisors Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon, asked British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson to return the bust. A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May stated that May was “happy to loan the Churchill bust to the White House and will be delighted to view it on display when she visits this Spring.”
Two questions must be asked about this story, from 2009 until now—why did Obama remove the bust, and why is Trump so adamant in returning it to the Oval Office?
To answer the first question regarding Obama, many have speculated, including Johnson and conservative documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, that Obama had the bust removed because of his distaste for Britain’s imperialism in the early 20th century, which was so vast that Britain was known as a place “where the sun never sets.” D’Souza, in his book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, opines that Obama has a deep distaste, if not hatred, for what he perceives as colonialism or imperialism. D’Souza’s conclusion would make sense when one analyzes Obama’s answer to the question regarding American exceptionalism and his attempts to diminish American influence in the world.
However, in answering the second question, we must delve into Trump’s idea of exceptionalism. Obama’s anti-colonialist mindset is a stark contrast to Trump’s obvious patriotism. Throughout Trump’s campaign, and in speeches since, he has frequently talked about putting America first, and making America great again. And although Churchill was the Prime Minister of Britain, he was an iconic model for a president that America needs, and that which Trump shows every day that he wants to be.Tags: Barack Obama Donald Trump