January 9, 2020
Statue Of Donald Trump Burned To The Ground In Slovenia, Melania's Home Country

A wooden statue mocking Donald Trump has been burned to the ground, The Associated Press reports. The statue had stood in a village in Slovenia, first lady Melania Trump's home country.

Artist Tomaz Schlegl created the 26-foot-tall wooden statue of the 45th president last year and erected it in the town of Sela pri Kamniku. The statue depicted Trump wearing his signature blue suit, white shirt and red tie; his right fist was clenched and held above his head. The piece also contained a reference to Trump's signature hairstyle, with his hair extending out almost horizontally from his head.

Inside the statue, a mechanism could be used to open his mouth, causing a set of shark's teeth to emerge.

Schlegl said that the combination of the sharp teeth with the otherwise mundane, if cartoonish, depiction of Trump was intended to show the two sides of populist politicians.

"Like all populists, the statue has two faces," he said, according to the AP report. "One is humane and nice, the other is that of a vampire."

"For the first time since World War II populism is prevailing: look at [British Prime Minister Boris] Johnson, look at Trump, our president or [Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor] Orban. Where is this world heading?" he said via HuffPost.

The statue became something of a tourist attraction in the town of Sela pri Kamniku, according to The Guardian. But locals found it a nuisance and had even pledged to burn it to the ground. Eventually, the statue was relocated to the nearby town of Moravce.

Unfortunately for the statue and its creator, it seems that the statue's reputation followed it, as it was burned down in its new location. Mayor Milan Balazic said that the statue was destroyed by arsonists, and he calls the act a crime against art.
"[The burning of the statue] is symbol of intolerance toward artistic projects in our society," he said.

Slovenia, the birthplace of first lady Melania Trump, has had a "complicated" relationship with the Trump family, The Guardian notes. Another wooden statue of a Trump family member, this time representing Melania, was unveiled last year in Sevnica last June. Like the statue of her husband, reactions were "mixed," to put it kindly.

Slovenians had hoped that with their native daughter occupying the office of the first lady, the small, Eastern European country would have a higher profile. However, since her husband's inauguration, Melania has rarely mentioned her former home and has not been back to visit.