More Truth Stretching: Ted Cruz’s GOP Debate Claim About Obama’s Oval Office Churchill Statue

Despite numerous factual accounts of what happened to the two White House statues of Winston Churchill, Ted Cruz repeated a debunked story during Thursday’s GOP presidential debate which has been around since the early days of Obama’s first term. Here is what Cruz said last night:

CRUZ: Of course it does. And we’ve seen for seven years a president that has made the presidency and has made, sadly, his administration a laughing stock in the world. This administration started with President Obama sending back the bust of Winston Churchill to the United Kingdom within the opening weeks.

Cruz has said that before during the campaign. The claim rated two pinocchios from Washington Post fact checkers.

Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama admiring the remaining bust of Churchill. White House
UK Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama admiring the remaining bust of Churchill. White House

Obama did send a bust of Churchill back to England. That bust was loaned to George Bush and when he left office the statue had to go back. However, there is another statue which has a permanent place in the White House furnishings. That statue stayed at the White House and in the photo above is being viewed by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron along with Barack Obama in 2010.

It is a pretty silly controversy, so am I writing about it?

Given Cruz’s close ties to David Barton and Glenn Beck, the fact that Cruz repeats what is to him a useful story despite it being so misleading as to be untrue is relevant to his candidacy.  Just yesterday, I posted a clip of David Barton claiming that he was on the FBI’s hate group list. He encouraged his listeners to go look up his name on the FBI website. However, I learned from the FBI that the agency has no formal list of hate groups and so David Barton can’t be on it.  Barton has made numerous false claims about historical and current events.

While opening for Cruz’s campaign speeches in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, Glenn Beck deceived Cruz audiences about his copy of Don Quixote and George Washington’s diary entry on the day Washington signed the Constitution.

These are needless distortions and falsehoods by two of Cruz’s closest endorsers. Cruz’s distortion of the facts was needless as well. However, it seems that Cruz and company have such a pattern of this that all factual claims need to be checked (see also this example from a Cruz legal brief). Those who have followed Barton and Beck know that truth stretching is part of the operating procedure. Either this has rubbed off on Cruz or birds of a feather have flocked together.

So many red flags go up. Cruz’s slogan is TrusTed. My response is: Why should I?

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