In a lengthy response to a Congressional inquiry, the commission in charge of creating a memorial to President Dwight Eisenhower has said the controversy over the memorial's design started with a family spat. Retired General Carl Reddel, executive director of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, said the resignation of presidential grandson David Eisenhower from the commission last year surprised him and other members.
Eisenhower had been supportive of the design by famed architect Frank Gehry through much of 2011, Reddel said in his response to Congress.
But an excerpt below shows that David Eisenhower's stance appeared to change.
However, in October 2011, Anne and Susan expressed concerns about Eisenhower’s memorialization and attempts were made to arrange a meeting for them with Frank Gehry.
On December 1st, 2011, Mr. Gehry came to New York, to meet with David, Susan, and Anne Eisenhower. Susan and Anne arrived and said that David would not be attending the meeting. Mr. Gehry reviewed the concept guiding his evolving design and addressed the concerns of the Susan and Anne Eisenhower, including maintenance issues. Several days later, Anne Eisenhower sent an email to Mr. Gehry stating that the family did not like elements of the design but that it was not up to them to make suggestions for adjusting the design to their liking. A week later, the Commission was surprised and disappointed when David Eisenhower resigned, stating in previous private communications that he would resign rather than be in public dispute with his sisters.
Click here to read the full Q&A from Reddell, who submitted the answers in response to a hearing held by a House subcommittee in March.
The family has said it finds the main depiction of Eisenhower as a boy offensive to his legacy as a two-term president and a supreme commander during World War II.