On his visit to France in 2018, United States’ President Donald Trump was supposed to pay a visit to a cemetery commemorating fallen marines of the US in World War I.
But instead, he chose to bring back home an art piece worth $750,000 (INR 5,51,000,00) from the US ambassador’s residence in Paris.
The cancelled trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery was controversial indeed. Trump’s insistence on taking the artwork only created further problems.
It happened that after Trump’s cemetery trip was cancelled, he had some time on his hands which he decided to spend visiting the US ambassador’s residence. There he came across certain art pieces which he just had to have.
The artwork Trump fancied included a Benjamin Franklin bust, a Franklin portrait and a set of figurines of Greek mythical characters. He ordered them to be loaded on Air Force One to go back to Washington with him, reported Bloomberg.
Though the ambassador was reportedly surprised by the act, he did not object to it. Trump joked he would return them after his second term at office ends.
The White House confirmed that the president took artwork from Paris. Replying to Bloomberg News, White House spokesman Judd Deere said, “The President brought these beautiful, historical pieces, which belong to the American people, back to the United States to be prominently displayed in the People’s House.”
Interestingly, the “historical” figurines which were supposed to be from the 16th or 17th centuries, turned out to be fakes and replicas. According to an art dealer, they were actually “20th century fakes of wannabe 17th century sculptures” that have little value.
Subsequently, the White House officials had to borrow the original portrait from the National Portrait Gallery to decorate the Oval Office.
Some officials in the State Department were not very happy with the development and exchanged a few emails on the same. However, the move was declared legal given the art was the property of the US government.