The feud over what happened to the Winston Churchill bust in the Oval Office ended today with White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer apologizing to Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer.
The controversy flared last week when Krauthammer wrote a column mentioning how President Obama returned the bust to the British embassy in 2009. Calling the story "patently false," Pfeiffer issued a "fact check" claiming that the bust, which Tony Blair had originally given to George W. Bush, had simply been moved to a different wing of the White House, so Obama could make space for a bust of Abraham Lincoln in the Oval Office. As I pointed out here Friday, that explanation made no sense because Obama's predecessor already had a bust of Lincoln in the Oval Office along with the bust of Churchill. Why take out one bust out to make room for another one already there?
As it turned out, that wasn't the only problem with the White House's "fact check." Within hour of challenging Krauthammer, Pfeiffer was forced to admit that, in fact, Obama had returned the bust of Churchill to the British embassy. To his credit, Pfieffer publicly apologized today in a letter to Krauthammer.
Pfeiffer still claims that Obama returned the bust to the embassy "as a matter of course," even though a spokesperson for the British embassy said at the time that the loan could be extended. Nevertheless, it is a resolution worthy of the man whose bust was at issue. He once wrote, "Facts are better than dreams."