US President Joe Biden shook up décor at the Oval office—he removed a bust of former British PM Winston Churchill and a portrait of former US President Andrew Jackson’s portrait from the office.
Biden removed the bust of former UK prime minister known to be a racist and white supremacist and replaced it with the bust of Mexican American labour rights leader Cesar Chavez. The president also bought in busts of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, civil rights activist Rosa Parks and supporter of women’s suffrage movement Eleanor Roosevelt.
A Churchill bust was returned to the British Embassy when Barack Obama became president. Obama replaced it with a bust of Martin Luther King Jr. When Trump took over, he brought in another bust of Churchill, one which was present in the White House since the 1960s. The one Obama had removed from the Oval Office was lent by Tony Blair to the George W. Bush.
Britain PM Boris Johnson has taken a lighter stand on Biden removing Churchill’s bust. “The Oval Office is the president’s private office, and it’s up to the president to decorate it as he wishes,” Boris Johnson’s official spokesman told The Guardian.
However, when Obama had Churchill’s bust removed from the Oval Office, Boris Johnson, who was then the mayor of London, suggested that it might be because “the part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire.”
Portrait of Andrew Jackson, who made money from slave labour was also removed from the Oval Office. He instead hung portraits of Franklin D Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton.
Biden also replaced the gold and yellow rug with a dark blue one.