A sad byproduct of these highly divisive times is that the spouses and children of politicians, once considered off-limits from partisan attacks, are now routinely targeted — and that is especially true for the family of President Donald Trump.
On the night of July 4, a wooden sculpture erected in honor of First Lady Melania Trump near her hometown in Slovenia was set on fire by unknown assailants, and now the man who commissioned that statue is demanding answers, The Hill reports.
The statue, first unveiled in 2019, is a large and rough-hewn carving of the first lady waving while wearing the famous pale blue outfit she wore on Inauguration Day in 2017 and is located on the outskirts of her birthplace of Sevnica.
Artist wants answers
Reuters was the first to report on the torching of the monument honoring the first lady and the fact that it was taken down at the request of American artist Brad Downey after he was notified by the police about what occurred to the statute he commissioned from a local artisan.
“I want to know why they did it,” Downey told Reuters of the unknown attackers that left the statue “blackened” and “disfigured.”
Downey has filed a police report regarding the incident and hopes that whoever committed the act will be identified so that he can interview them as part of a documentary he is creating ahead of a special art exhibition later this year, according to Reuters.
A spokeswoman for the local police, however, told Reuters that no details of the incident could be shared due to the existence of an ongoing investigation into the matter.
Ironically, the media outlet noted that this was the second fiery attack on a Trump statue in Slovenia this year, as a wooden monument in honor of the president was burned by protesters in the city of Moravce in January.
The wooden statue of the first lady itself has been the subject of some controversy in the past, according to a report from The Washington Post.
Downey wasn’t the man who actually created the statue, as it was instead carved by a local woodworking hobbyist from Sevnica named Ales “Maxi” Zupevc, whom Downey hired for the job. Zupevc used a chainsaw to sculpt the large wooden figure that some have decried as crude while others have praised as having subtle beauty, the Post noted.
Regardless of whether people love or hate the wooden statue of Melania Trump, both Downey and Zupevc are proud of the monument and stand by it.
As for the timing of the attack on the first lady’s statue in Slovenia, The Hill pointed out that it came shortly after President Trump announced his order calling for the creation of a “National Garden of American Heroes.” Ironic, indeed.