President-elect Donald Trump has specifically asked England if they will return a bust of Winston Churchill to the Oval Office after President Barack Obama had it removed in 2009.
According to British newspaper The Sun, Trump senior advisers Jared Kushner and Steven Bannon asked Britain Foreign Minister Boris Johnson during their meeting in New York City over the weekend if England would be so kind as to return the bust.
A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May told the Sun that May was more than willing to oblige: “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.”
Obama, soon after taking office in 2009, ignited controversy when he removed the Churchill bust, which was a gift from the closest U.S. ally, to replace it with a bust of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. Since then, the removed Churchill bust has been located in the British Embassy in Washington, D.C.
The bust first came to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2001 after England presented it to President George W. Bush. It remained in the Oval Office until Obama removed it eight years later.
Some speculate, including conservative documentary filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, that Obama removed the bust because he has a hatred of American and British imperialism, which dominated the world in the early 20th century. Johnson has made similar accusations, even going so far as to say that Obama had the bust removed because of his “ancestral dislike of the British Empire.”
The idea of bringing back the bust was originally announced by former British political leader Nigel Farage in November when he met with the president-elect at Trump Tower.
Especially pleased at @realDonaldTrump's very positive reaction to idea that Sir Winston Churchill's bust should be put back in Oval Office.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 12, 2016
Trump is reportedly a big fan of Churchill, according to The Sun. It is unclear how soon after the Jan. 20 inauguration the bust will be physically returned to the Oval Office.