Melania Trump sculpture in Slovenia set on fire

Melania Trump sculpture in Slovenia set on fire on US Independence Day
The statue was removed after being burned. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times: A quirky wooden Melania Trump sculpture has been set on fire near her hometown in Slovenia. The incident prompted its removal from the place.

American artist Brad Downey commissioned the statue of the US First Lady. He said it was targeted on 4 July, Independence Day in the US.

The Berlin-based artist arranged for the charred statue to be removed the next day. Police said they had launched an investigation.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Melania Trump sculpture, which could be described as only bearing a crude likeness to Mrs Trump, was carved out of a tree trunk on the outskirts of Sevnica, her hometown in central Slovenia.

When it was erected in July 2019, the statue, which depicts Melania dressed in a blue coat similar to one she wore to her husband’s inauguration and with a club-like hand gesturing to the sky, received mixed reviews.

Some residents branded the statue a “disgrace”, complaining it looked more like the Smurfs character Smurfette than the first lady.

Mr Downey told Reuters news agency that he wanted to understand who targeted the statue and why.

He said he had hoped the statue would open a dialogue about the political situation in the US, including the fractious debate on immigration.

The statue of the US first lady was unveiled on 5 July 2019. Source: Reuters

Melania Trump’s statue in Slovenia was targeted at a time when monuments of US leaders with links to slavery are being re-assessed as a result of national reflection prompted by anti-racism protests.

The recent protest was sparked by the killing of an unarmed African American George Floyd, who died under police custody. Video of his killing showed that police chokehold Mr Floyed to the ground and refused to let him breathe despite his continuous calling that he could not breathe.

US President Donald Trump in recent speeches has taken a hardline against those who vandalise or tear down statues.

Since Mr Trump was elected US president in 2016, Melania’s home town Sevnica has become a tourist magnet, as visitors search for an insight into her early years.

Residents have brought out ranges of Melania-branded merchandise, including cakes, slippers and Trump-like burgers with fly-away cheese “hair”.

A wooden statue of President Trump was constructed in Slovenia in August last year in east of the capital Ljubljana. Like the rendering of Mrs Trump, the statue of her husband divided opinion.

The 8-meter statue was burnt to the ground by unknown arsonists in January this year.

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