Expanded from an article in The American Spectator, 18 November 2015.
The news from France is very bad and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune. Nothing will alter our feelings towards them or our faith that the genius of France will rise again. —Winston S. Churchill, 4 June 1940
With every murderous threat to civilization we are asked: “Where are our Churchills?” There isn’t one, and we should not expect one. Churchills are rare. They appear in extremis. The threat in 1940 was, if this is any consolation, far more serious than the threat today.…
A friend who is delivering a Churchill speech in D.C. asked for some examples of Churchilian humor involving Washington and U.S. Presidents.
Everyone enjoys Churchill’s famous crack in his first (1941) speech to Congress:
“If my father had been American, and my mother British, instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own!” That brought down the house.
When in the U.S., Churchill liked to emphasize his American roots. Broadcasting to America six months earlier, he avowed something he always believed:
The great Burke has truly said, “People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors,” and I feel it most agreeable to recall to you that the Jeromes were rooted for many generations in American soil, and fought in Washington’s armies for the independence of the American Colonies and the foundation of the United States.…
Churchill (stepping naked from his bath): “The Prime Minister of Great Britain has nothing to hide from the President of the United States.” **
[Also quoted as: “You see, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide.”]
Churchill allegedly said this during his visit to the White House in December-January 1941. The Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor and America was in the war. The encounter was confirmed by Churchill’s bodyguard, Walter Thompson, and one of his secretaries, Patrick Kinna. On the strength of their comments I included it as “likely” in Churchill By Himself.…