Grove City College professor Paul Kengor is out with a new book, The Communist, which examines President Obama’s relationship with his grandfather’s friend Frank Marshall Davis, who has become the nexus of several right-wing conspiracy theories.
In an interview with American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios this week, Kengor went into detail about the “amazing” similarities between Davis and Obama, including what he claims is their “hate” for Winston Churchill. Kengor and Rios went on to recount the favorite right-wing story that “one of the first things” Obama did as president was remove a bust of Churchill from the Oval Office and send it back to England.
Kengor imagines that when this imaginary diss of the British leader took place, “Churchill rolled over in his grave” and “Frank Marshall Davis leapt up in his grave and laughed and saluted.”
Kengor: Well, I dug into the Chicago Star writings, the Honolulu Record writings, and you see here in Frank Marshall Davis a man who constantly bashed Wall Street, excess profits, capitalism, the rich, GOP tax cuts, General Motors, was calling for taxpayer funding of public works projects and universal healthcare, was trashing Winston Churchill. I mean, here’s a thought for you: name two Americans who hate Winston Churchill. Well, I couldn’t have done that five years ago. Now I can give you two: Barack Obama and Frank Marshall Davis. The similarities are amazing.
Rios: Well, and evidenced by, you know, one of the first things Barack Obama did, you and I both know but others might not, that he removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the White House. Sent it back to Great Britain!
Kenger: Unbelievable. Unbelievable and so many Americans just yawned when that happened. I mean, Churchill rolled over in his grave when that happened. Frank Marshall Davis leapt up in his grave and laughed and saluted when that happened, because Davis despised Winston Churchill, called him, like Harry Truman, called him a ‘fascist,’ a ‘racist,’ an ‘imperialist,’ a ‘colonialist,’ every name in the book. And to imagine that today, Frank Marshall Davis must be looking at the results of November 2008 and seeing all these young people that voted for Obama and all these old, one-time Cold War anti-communist Democrats and all these moderates and independents and he must just be laughing so hard that he can hardly control himself at what’s happened.
For the record, here is a photo the White House posted today of Obama and British Prime Minister looking at the Churchill bust outside the Oval Office in 2010:
Update: White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer clarifies that there were at one point two busts of Winston Churchill in the Oval Office area. One, which was a gift to George W. Bush, was removed when President Obama took office to make room for a bust of Lincoln. The other, which has been in the White House since the 1960’s, remains. And the argument that President Obama’s change of Oval Office décor signals a “hatred” for Churchill remains absurd.