I am convinced that the White House is attempting a pre-emptive strike on my film “2016: Obama’s America.” Unfortunately for White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, his strike has turned out to be a complete bust.
“Bust” is the right term here, because Pfeiffer was attempting to re-write the story of the Winston Churchill bust. Pfeiffer accused Obama critics including columnist Charles Krauthammer of getting the facts wrong and promulgating an “urban legend.” Now Pfeiffer has publicly admitted that he got his facts wrong.
Why do I think that any of this was directed at my movie? Because it’s just now hitting theaters across the country. The film is the work of Gerald Molen, the producer of “Hook,” Jurassic Park,” and “Schindler’s List.”
It is the movie’s “buzz” that explains why the White House would strongly react to a three-year-old story. This White House has a pattern of attempting to pre-empt stories that are damaging.
My film points out that one of President Obama’s first actions as president was to return a bust of Winston Churchill. While Obama’s actions caused puzzlement at the time, the film explains them as a consequence of Obama’s anti-colonial and anti-British sentiments. Churchill was a lifelong colonialist, head of the colonial office, and the British prime minister who crushed the anti-colonial Mau Mau uprising in Kenya.
And there is a personal side of this for President Obama: his father was arrested in connection with the Mau Mau revolt, and his grandfather Onyango Obama was also allegedly interned and tortured. So President Obama may think he has good reason to hate Winston Churchill.
Yet the White House insists that it is “100 percent false” that the president removed a Churchill bust from the Oval Office.
Alas, it is the White House statement that is 100 percent false. Here are the facts. After the September 11 attacks, the British government loaned the White House a bronze bust of Winston Churchill, the work of sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein. Between 2001 and 2009, Bush prominently displayed the bust in the Oval Office.
When Obama was elected, British officials offered to let him keep the bust. He refused, and the bust was returned. It now sits in the home of the British ambassador to America. It has technically been “sent back to Britain.”
All of this is beyond dispute, and was reported in the London Telegraph and around the world in early 2009.
So what was the White House trying to say? The White House contended that there are actually two Churchill busts. Yes, two Churchill busts. And by the same sculptor Jacob Epstein. According to Pfeiffer, “The White House has had a bust of Winston Churchill since the 1960s.” But apparently that bust was being “worked on” and so the British provided another bust by the same sculptor. Pfeiffer insisted that at the end of Bush’s second term, the Churchill bust was removed “as is common practice at the end of every presidency.” The second bust, he says, is still in the White House residence.
What a squid-like cloud of rhetoric these guys emit to try and confuse the issue. The issue remains that President Obama rejected the offer to keep the Oval Office bust and instead returned it to Britain, a move that I believe is driven by his deep hatred for Winston Churchill, as documented in my film.
Now the White House admits it got the facts wrong. And where the White House obtained the second bust is unknown. We also don’t know when the Obama team decided to make this other bust appear. Could it be when fears began to circulate that Obama’s anti-colonial roots are fully documented in the new film “2016” and the president is now “busted”?
Barack Obama Sr., the president’s father, was a confirmed fabulist who regularly made up stories, including stories about high positions he never held and stories about him single-handedly killing lions. It would be disconcerting to find the same traits in his son.
Americans have a right to expect Obama to be forthright with us and tell us why he insulted the British people and damaged our most enduring international friendship by returning the bust of one of America’s greatest friends and champions.
The facts on why President Obama behaved so oddly in this matter are laid out in “2016: Obama’s America.” In its opening weekend in Houston, it outpaced “Ice Age” and “Spiderman” on a per-screen basis. In the next three weeks, it begins to go wider across the United States. I think we’ve touched a nerve. But I also know that no amount of bullying by the president of the United States or anyone else will prevent Americans from going to the theater and finding out for themselves the truth about their president.
After you watch the movie, you’ll “get” Obama in a way you haven’t before. Love him or hate him, you won’t be able to say you don’t know him.
Dinesh D’Souza is the president of the King’s College in New York, co-director of the film “2016,” and author of the new book “Obama’s America.” For more information about the film, go to 2016themovie.com.