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May 25, 2017

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Churchill joins Lincoln in Bush's Oval Office

A bust of British World War II leader Winston Churchill joined busts of Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower in the Oval Office of President George W. Bush on Monday.

The 55-year-old bust by English sculptor Jacob Epstein was on loan from the British government's art collection. It had been requested by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and unveiled two days before Bush's first trip to Britain as president.

In accepting the bust from British Ambassador Christopher Meyer, Bush said Churchill "knew what he believed, and he really kind of went after it in a way that seemed like a Texan to me."

Bush said he looked forward to "visiting" with Churchill throughout his presidency. The bust will be returned once he leaves office.

"Sometimes he'll talk back, sometimes he won't, depending upon the stress of the moment, but he is a constant reminder of what a great leader is like," Bush said.

Epstein was born in New York City in 1880 and settled in London in 1905, where he eventually became a British subject.

Asked what he looked forward to seeing on his upcoming visit to England, Bush replied: "Well, I'm looking forward to going to Chequers. The prime minister told me when he came to Camp David that he thought I would really love to see Chequers. And my dad (President George Bush) told me the same thing."

Chequers is the British prime minister's country estate.

Bush said he also looked forward to seeing Queen Elizabeth II, whom he said he met at a state dinner in Washington and found to be "a lovely, dignified smart lady."

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