UPDATE AT BOTTOM
In a statement posted on the White House’s website on Tuesday afternoon, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer revealed an email he sent to Charles Krauthammer offering an apology to syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel regular over a back-and-forth about a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Krauthammer asked that the apology — which even included an endorsement for Krauthammer’s favorite Major League Baseball team, the Washington Nationals — be made public, and Pfeiffer obliged:
I take your criticism seriously and you are correct that you are owed an apology. There was clearly an internal confusion about the two busts and there was no intention to deceive. I clearly overshot the runway in my post. The point I was trying to make – under the belief that the Bust in the residence was the one previously in the Oval Office– was that this oft repeated talking point about the bust being a symbol of President Obama’s failure to appreciate the special relationship is false. The bust that was returned was returned as a matter of course with all the other artwork that had been loaned to President Bush for display in his Oval Office and not something that President Obama or his Administration chose to do. I still think this is an important point and one I wish I had communicated better.
A better understanding of the facts on my part and a couple of deep breaths at the outset would have prevented this situation. Having said all that, barring a miracle comeback from the Phillies I would like to see the Nats win a world series even if it comes after my apology
The controversy began last week after Krauthammer criticized Obama’s foreign policy in his Friday column, noting that the White House returned the bust of Churchill to the British Embassy. When Pfeiffer incorrectly denied that the bust was returned, Krauthammer published a response on Sunday night laying out his case and saying, “The decent thing to do, therefore, would be to acknowledge the (inadvertent?) deception and apologize for it.”
Krauthammer responded to the White House apology at the tail-end of his regular “Special Report” appearance on Tuesday, calling it gracious and unexpected.
“Well, I must say it was a gracious apology,” Krauthammer said. “I was stunned. I didn’t expect it to happen. I actually wrote in my column that I thought the Nationals would win the World Series before I’d see an apology. So, now I suppose the Nationals are going to win the World Series. But it was a gracious apology. They are still clinging to a tiny point on this but the argument is over. I appreciate that the correction and retraction.”