The removal of a set of paintings from display at the White House because the owners wanted them back has become the latest half-hearted attack line for conservatives.
Political Playbook reported on Tuesday that a set of iconic Norman Rockwell paintings depicting various people waiting to meet with the president were taken down and replaced with images of Mr Biden after the family of Franklin D Roosevelt’s press secretary Steven Early requested them back as far back as a year aug.
Experts told the publication that one reason for their return could be the increased value the paintings now have following their display at the White House.
The four sketches have been on display for decades, after being given to Mr Early by the artist himself.
But the lack of an official statement from the Early family was enough to spin the gears of the right-wing conspiracy industry, which was hard at work this week to find a reason to bash Joe Biden over the news.
“Yes, the White House replaced Norman Rockwell Paintings with jumbo photos of Joe Biden, and no one can go on the record to explain why,” wrote Charlie Spiering of right-wing Breitbart News, suggesting that some elaborate plot was afoot despite the explanation given by the White House.
“If Donald Trump removed four famous pictures in the White House for more photos of himself, the media would be having a field day. So why does Joe Biden get a pass? Because he’s a Democrat, and the media are desperate to defend him no matter what,” wrote Trump-supporting cable news commentator Dan Eberhart, who falsely attributed the paintings’ removal to Mr Biden and not the family who actually owned them.
Not to be outdone, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted that it was “disgraceful” for the White House to return property to its rightful owners upon their request. The Independent you have reached out to inquire why that is.
Tweets aside, the incident is a good example of how right-wing media (and, subsequently, the politicians who consume it) fall for baseless conspiracies and wind up deep into the realm of misinformation out of pure zeal resulting from their desire to attack Democrats or “the left” in general.
The story comes on the heels of another example of that trend which arose when far-right conspiracist Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene questioned during a live stream whether recent mass shootings were part of a plot to enact gun control.
“[A]s soon as we hit MAGA month, as soon as we hit the month we’re all celebrating, loving our country, we have shootings on July 4th”, she suggested on her podcast on Wednesday, adding: “It almost sounds like it’s designed to persuade Republicans to go along with gun control.”
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) is one of America’s most celebrated painters, best known for his book and magazine illustrations, portraits of presidents including Eisenhower, Kennedy and Nixon, and – later in life – paintings addressing civil rights issues, such as one depicting schoolgirl Ruby Bridges, the first Black pupil to attend the newly desegregated William Frantz High School in Louisiana.
that painting, The Problem We All Live Withis at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.