New Melania Trump statue replaces one that burned to the ground in Slovenia
A bronze statue of first lady Melania Trump was put up near her hometown in Slovenia this week, after a previous wooden one was set on fire earlier this year.
The first statue was torched by arsonists on July 4 near Sevnica, the town of 5,000 in central Slovenia where Trump grew up. Local police have not found who was responsible.
Artist Brad Downey unveiled the new metal statue at a Tuesday ceremony, telling CNN that he didn’t think the previous statue got what it deserved.
“I didn’t think it was a good ending for the community,” he said.
Downey said that area residents are supportive of the statue, and that he installed the new iteration as a “donation.” The statue stands on the same tree trunk as the previous memorial, and an attached plaque dedicates the site to “the eternal memory of a monument to Melania which stood at this location,” The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The artist commissioned the wooden sculpture from local artist Ales Zupevc, who was born in the same hospital and in the same year as Trump, CNN reported. The statue depicted the first lady waving her hand and sporting a blue outfit like the one she wore to President Trump’s 2017 inauguration.
Downey, an American, reportedly sought to prevent images of the burned statue from circulating as debates over controversial statues and memorials continue to rage across the U.S.
“With the Black Lives Matter protests, there’s been a tendency to rip down monuments, so I wanted to install a permanent one,” he told the Times.
Nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd this year have called for the removal of Confederate statues and others associated with racism and slavery, such as those of Christopher Columbus.
After the burned statue of Trump was removed in July, it was included as part of an exhibition in the Slovenian town of Kroper, titled “F**k Off Illusion.”