Winston Churchill bust 'not on display' in Joe Biden's Oval Office

Nick Allen
·2-min read
Joe Biden at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office just hours after his inauguration - Getty
Joe Biden at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office just hours after his inauguration - Getty

Joe Biden made the first interior move of his presidency on Wednesday after it appeared he had decided not to display a bust of Sir Winston Churchill in the Oval Office.

Donald Trump had given a prominent spot to a Jacob Epstein bust of the British war leader. But as Mr Biden entered the Oval Office for the first time in his presidency the bust did not appear to be there.

The Washington Post, which was given an advance tour of Mr Biden's office, reported that "Biden does not have the [Churchill] bust on display".

New presidents have their choice of how to decorate the Oval Office, including busts, paintings and some furniture.

The Epstein sculpture of Churchill was given to President George W Bush by Tony Blair and displayed in the Oval Office.

Barack Obama had it replaced with a bust of Martin Luther King Jr in 2009. At the time Mr Obama said he had a second bust of Churchill in his private quarters.

Boris Johnson, who was mayor of London at the time, said it was a "snub to Britain".

Mr Trump pledged before his election to restore the original bust in the Oval Office and quickly did so on his arrival at the White House.

The White House did not immediately comment on the whereabouts of the Churchill bust now that Mr Biden is president.

Mr Biden chose to decorate his office with a large portrait of Franklin D Roosevelt, along with paintings of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

He chose busts of figures including Martin Luther King Jr, Robert Kennedy, Rosa Parks, Eleanor Roosevelt and Cesar Chavez.

Mr Biden also changed the drapes and rug, and has a moon rock on a shelf.