Politics - News Analysis
Trump Humiliates Himself by Mistaking Cowboy Sculpture in His Office For Teddy Roosevelt
President Donald Trump often gets things wrong, but this time he had help from Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade when they both misidentified a famous sculpture as Teddy Roosevelt during a Sunday night interview. He went on to tell Kilmeade that statues help people learn about history.
But that apparently didn’t help Trump or Kilmeade, because the “Roosevelt statue” actually turned out to be “The Bronco Buster, a famous statue by the western realist painter and sculptor, Frederic Remington, Gizmodo reports.
Trump was complaining about those who want to tear down statues of President Roosevelt, referring to the statue. Then Kilmeade jumped in to inadvertently prove two wrongs don’t make a right.
“Every president chooses what to put around them,” he said, pointing to famous artworks in the Oval Office. “You chose Lincoln as a bust and Lincoln as a picture. You chose Andrew Jackson, and is that Teddy Roosevelt?”
“Yes,” Trump said, referring to the not-actually-Teddy-Roosevelt sculpture. “And by the way, they’re taking down the statue of…”
“Teddy Roosevelt,” Kilmeade says helpfully.
“Teddy Roosevelt,” Trump concurs. “So explain that one.”
So not only do they wrongly identify Teddy Roosevelt, Kilmeade misses out on the fact that the famed statue has been in the Oval Office since the days of George W. Bush. And Remington actually designed the sculpture in 1895, having based it, in part, on a painting he did for an 1888 issue of Century Magazine. The illustration was accompanied by an article on Roosevelt. His fellow “Rough Riders” gave him a version of the statue that was subsequently displayed in Roosevelt’s own home in New York, The White House Historical Association notes. So perhaps this led to Trump’s confusion.
“Either that,” notes Gizmodo writer Matt Novak, “or the president is just an idiot.”
Remington, who created memorable images of the old west in paintings and sculptures never said the sculpture represented Roosevelt and it doesn’t even look like him. This is an iconic sculpture that’s a symbol of the American west, and it depicts a cowboy trying to tame a wild horse. As such, it’s viewed by some as a symbol of Roosevelt’s efforts to colonize Indigenous land.
So even though Trump completely fumbled this, it sadly fits in with the U.S.’s history of persecuting its indigenous peoples and also ties in with the ongoing removal of Confederate statues. Like the Confederate statues, at least one famous Roosevelt statue is being removed due to its depiction that portrays Black and Native American people as being inferior.
We live in a country where a major segment of the population is reminded daily that their ancestors were held in bondage, tortured, and raped. Another segment of the population is reminded daily that their ancestors were forced off of their homelands and massacred en masse. Removing these statues can be the start of a new beginning that this country desperately needs.
Also, let’s remember that Trump is known to have slept with a copy of Hitler’s speeches in his bedside cabinet. And then consign him to the dustbin of history where he belongs.