President Donald Trump helped himself to art treasures he fancied in the U.S. ambassador’s historic 1842 mansion in Paris when he visited two years ago —and had them shipped to the White House with him on Air Force One, Bloomberg reported Sunday.
Trump had extra time on his hands during his visit to Paris to commemorate the centennial of the end of World War I when he controversially skipped a trip to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery outside the city. The cancellation is now causing a world of trouble for Trump since The Atlantic reported that he blew it off after calling the fallen heroes “losers,” according to their sources.
The White House has confirmed — but downplayed — Trump’s highly unusual art “caper,” Bloomberg noted.
Trump spent some of the six hours of his newly found free time after skipping out on the cemetery visit by “shopping” for art in the ambassador’s mansion where he was staying, Bloomberg reported.
The following day Trump pointed out a Benjamin Franklin bust, a Franklin portrait and figurines of Greek gods, which he ordered to be returned to Washington with him. They were valued at $750,000, according to Bloomberg. He reportedly quipped that the mansion would get the art back in six years.
Ambassador Jamie McCourt was “startled,” while others were amused and astonished, according to Bloomberg.
Nothing to see here, a White House spokesperson told Bloomberg in a statement.
“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,” Judd Deere said.
The Greek figurines are currently on the fireplace mantel in the Oval Office, according to Bloomberg.
The Benjamin Franklin portrait and bust turned out to be copies of the originals.