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?

David Barton Can’t Decide When or Why Thomas Jefferson Got His Quran

David Barton is a confusing fellow. Sometimes he tells one story and other times he contradicts himself. Take the facts surrounding Thomas Jefferson’s Quran.

Jefferson owned a Quran and Barton has told a couple of different stories about it. First, he told Glenn Beck that Jefferson bought the Quran while on a mission to Islamic nations so he could understand his Islamic enemies. He later modified this story to make it somewhat more accurate. Actually, Jefferson bought his copy of the Quran long before that mission.

However, not one to let a good distortion go to waste, Barton has pulled it out again for World Net Daily in this video.


Dave Barton addresses the lies of Barack Obama made at the Mosque in Baltimore on February 1, 2016, where he said “Islam has always been part of America.” Barton screwers the LIES Obama told about Islam and Thomas Jefferson in his speech in this MUST WATCH videoThe new edition of “The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson” by David Barton is the must have book that sets the record straight on Jefferson as THE quintessential American founder.Get the book signed here –> the book at here –>

Posted by David Barton/WallBuilders on Monday, February 8, 2016

At 1:55 into the video, Barton purports to address Barack Obama’s recent appearance at a Mosque in Baltimore. Obama reminded the audience there that Jefferson owned a Quran. In response, Barton claims to explain why Jefferson owned it. Barton says Jefferson bought the Quran in order to learn more about his Islamic enemies. Barton says that in 1784 we had to deal with Muslim terrorists (Barbary Pirates) by sending John Adams, Ben Franklin and Jefferson to negotiate with five Islamic nations attacking Americans. Barton says that Jefferson and Adams both bought Qurans because they wanted to understand claims made by an Islamic ambassador. According to Barton’s timeline, this happened in 1786.

Barton also implies that Jefferson’s administration had something to do with the printing of the first American edition of the Quran. Not so. The 1806 edition of the Koran was printed by Henry Brewer for Isaiah Thomas. The introduction which Barton reads was actually taken from a version in the 1600s and was not specific to Jefferson’s administration.
In fact, as the Monticello website makes clear, Jefferson purchased his copy of the Quran long before 1786.

Thomas Jefferson owned a copy of the Qur’an, which was the second edition of a 1734 translation by George Sale, a two-volume set published in London in 1764. This set was sold to the Library of Congress in 1815, and rebound by the Library in 1918. The daybook of the Virginia Gazette records the purchase of this edition by Jefferson in Williamsburg in 1765.1 There are no other known records of Jefferson reacquiring this work, suggesting perhaps that it survived the fire at Jefferson’s family home, Shadwell, in 1770.

The bottom line is that Thomas Jefferson purchased his copy of the Quran in 1765. David Barton, alleged Jefferson expert, repeatedly gets this fact wrong by saying Jefferson acquired it while on diplomatic mission in 1786. Later, Barton tap danced around the facts to his buddy Glenn Beck but more recently returned to the false narrative that has Jefferson buying it in 1786.
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On Syrian Refugee Issue, David Barton Does What He Accuses President Obama of Doing

David Barton rarely lets an opportunity go by to bash President Obama. His response to Obama’s news conference on Syrian refugees is a case in point.
Barton took issue with Obama’s criticism of calls for the U.S. to use a religious test to determine which Syrian refugees could enter the country, saying Obama’s use of the term “religious test” was an allusion to the Constitution. In an email to supporters, Barton said:

Presidential candidates Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz recommended that America accept only Christian refugees from Syria, but President Obama flatly dismissed that proposal, explaining:
When I hear folks say that, well, “Maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims” — when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted. . . that’s shameful.
The President’s allusion to a “religious test” is a reference to Article VI of the Constitution, which says:

. . . no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
President Obama, once again, has completely rewritten the simple wording of the Constitution to make it say something it does not. As is evident from the clear wording above, the “religious test” clause applies only to federally elected and appointed officials, and that’s all. It does not apply to immigrants or anyone who does not hold federal office.

Actually, Obama’s response to the religious issues involved was quite balanced. He did not link a religious test to get into the nation with the Constitution and he called on Muslims of good will to condemn radical groups claiming to speak for Islam. Regarding religious tests for refugees, Obama said:

And when I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians but not the Muslims; when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which a person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefitted from protection when they were fleeing political persecution — that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.
When Pope Francis came to visit the United States, and gave a speech before Congress, he didn’t just speak about Christians who were being persecuted. He didn’t call on Catholic parishes just to admit to those who were of the same religious faith. He said, protect people who are vulnerable.

Obama concluded:

And if we want to be successful at defeating ISIL, that’s a good place to start — by not promoting that kind of ideology, that kind of attitude. In the same way that the Muslim community has an obligation not to in any way excuse anti-Western or anti-Christian sentiment, we have the same obligation as Christians. And we are — it is good to remember that the United States does not have a religious test, and we are a nation of many peoples of different faiths, which means that we show compassion to everybody. Those are the universal values we stand for. And that’s what my administration intends to stand for.

Nowhere did Obama say that religious tests for refugees are unconstitutional. His reference to religious tests was a reference to a more general principle that America has historically valued freedom of conscience and equal treatment for all people.
Even though Obama stuck up for equal treatment, he called on Muslims to address the radical elements which claim to speak for Islam.

Now, what is also true is, is that the most vicious terrorist organizations at the moment are ones that claim to be speaking on behalf of true Muslims. And I do think that Muslims around the world — religious leaders, political leaders, ordinary people — have to ask very serious questions about how did these extremist ideologies take root, even if it’s only affecting a very small fraction of the population. It is real and it is dangerous. And it has built up over time, and with social media it has now accelerated.
And so I think, on the one hand, non-Muslims cannot stereotype, but I also think the Muslim community has to think about how we make sure that children are not being infected with this twisted notion that somehow they can kill innocent people and that that is justified by religion. And to some degree, that is something that has to come from within the Muslim community itself. And I think there have been times where there has not been enough pushback against extremism. There’s been pushback — there are some who say, well, we don’t believe in violence, but are not as willing to challenge some of the extremist thoughts or rationales for why Muslims feel oppressed. And I think those ideas have to be challenged.

Obama should be commended for calling Muslim leaders to lead the way in condemning violence perpetrated in the name of their religion. Instead, Barton strikes out on behalf of his favored GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz by doing the very thing he accuses Obama of doing.

President Obama's Speech at Selma on the 50th Anniversary of 1965 Civil Rights March

Like him or not, there is something amazing about President Obama making a speech at Selma 50 years after Bloody Sunday.
Crescendo moment: Restore the Voting Rights Act.
Obama closed with Isaiah 40:31.
Watch some footage of the march over the Pettus Bridge.

Note to David Barton: Obama’s Thanksgiving Proclamation Does Mention God

Here is an easy claim to fact check.

Last week, David Barton told Andrew Wommack’s audience that President Obama’s thanksgiving proclamation did not mention God. Listen beginning at 2:02:

Barton: Yeah, and that’s a great place to start is who were the Pilgrims because we do track our thanksgiving back to them. Now, if you’re in schools the last three to four years, you don’t know that the Pilgrims even believed in God. One of the unfortunate things, this is in the past several years, the Thanksgiving message out of the White House no longer even mentions God. When we give thanks, God’s not part of that.

Andrew Wommack: Part of that’s because of who is in the White House.

Barton: That’s a real problem. You check Thanksgiving proclamations of this president with the previous ones and it’s not the same.

Barton then says Wikipedia did not mention God as a part of thanksgiving last year. I checked, it does. I have a child in school and he most definitely knows that the Pilgrims believed in God.

Barton’s claim about Obama’s thanksgiving proclamation is simply not true. Here is the 2013 White House proclamation:

Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day, 2013 

– – – – – – –
Thanksgiving offers each of us the chance to count our many blessings — the freedoms we enjoy, the time we spend with loved ones, the brave men and women who defend our Nation at home and abroad. This tradition reminds us that no matter what our background or beliefs, no matter who we are or who we love, at our core we are first and foremost Americans.
Our annual celebration has roots in centuries-old colonial customs. When we gather around the table, we follow the example of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, who shared the fruits of a successful harvest nearly 400 years ago. When we offer our thanks, we mirror those who set aside a day of prayer. And when we join with friends and neighbors to alleviate suffering and make our communities whole, we honor the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln, who called on his fellow citizens to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”
Our country has always been home to Americans who recognize the importance of giving back. Today, we honor all those serving our Nation far from home. We also thank the first responders and medical professionals who work through the holiday to keep us safe, and we acknowledge the volunteers who dedicate this day to those less fortunate.
This Thanksgiving Day, let us forge deeper connections with our loved ones. Let us extend our gratitude and our compassion. And let us lift each other up and recognize, in the oldest spirit of this tradition, that we rise or fall as one Nation, under God.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 2013, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

This is not the first time Barton has made this false claim about Obama. Obama has mentioned God in a manner similar to other presidents. I addressed this matter in detail last year. Obama has followed the pattern of previous presidents and has also issued other prayer/religious related proclamations. I am not a fan of all of the president’s policies, but fair is fair.

Right Wing Watch and Patheos blogger Hemant Mehta pointed this out earlier this week. It is a shame to Christians when those outside the faith bring these things out in the open.

My experience is that Barton will keep on making these obviously false statements unless another Christian celebrity calls him on it. I’m not holding my breath.