A sculpture of First Lady Melania Trump that was erected in her hometown in Slovenia was set on fire on July 4th. According to TMZ, the Berlin-residing American who commissioned the statue, Brad Downey, told reporters that it was torched on Independence Day. He also confirmed that he had the charred remains moved away from the site.
The sculpture was carved with a chainsaw by Ales "Maxi" Zupevc — a local artist — and was unveiled in 2019. The body of the sculpture was painted blue, to match the color of the dress that Trump wore during her husband's 2017 inauguration. The sculpture had been widely criticized by many as not resembling the First Lady very well, but Downey stated that he found it to be "absolutely beautiful." Police are reportedly investigating the arson, as Downey wants to know why the sculpture was set on fire. Notably, footage of the statue aflame has since made its way online.
Well that escalated quickly...
Statue of Melania Trump set on fire near her hometown in Slovenia. The statue was put up last year by an American Artist, it has now been removed. pic.twitter.com/vBFTjoe4Q6— Terrence Daniels (Captain 🍀 Planet) (@Terrence_STR) July 9, 2020
The news of the sculpture being set on fire comes after weeks of statues of slave-owning historical figures have been torn down across the United States, and the world. On July 5, it was reported that protesters in Baltimore, Maryland, had torn down a statue of Christopher Columbus and dumped it into the city's Inner Harbor. Notably, historical records have offered credible accounts of Columbus' cruelty and violent behavior toward the Indigenous people that he encountered during his explorations. According to a report from The Guardian, many of his subordinates relayed accounts of his "tyranny and incompetence" to Queen Isabella. She responded by having Columbus removed from his position of authority in the new world, and ordered an investigation into the "brutality" of his actions.
In a more formal statue removal, Richmond, Virginia, city employees removed a statue of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson on July 1. The removal was ordered by Mayor Levar Stoney, and came weeks after a Jefferson Davis statue was removed by protesters. In a statement reported by WTVR, Stoney stated that he used emergency powers in order to have the statue immediately removed, along with other "multiple monuments in the city, including Confederate statues." He added, "As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, and protesters attempt to take down Confederate statues themselves or confront others who are doing so, the risk grows for serious illness, injury, or death. We have an urgent need to protect the public."