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Melania Trump Statue Set on Fire in Slovenia

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A statue of First Lady Melania Trump is reported to have been set on fire near her hometown in Slovenia, prompting its removal.

Brad Downey, the American artist who commissioned the statue, said it was targeted on the Independence Day.

The Berlin-based artist arranged for the charred statue to be removed the next day.

Police told Reuters they had launched an investigation.

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

The statue, which depicts the first lady dressed in a blue coat similar to one she wore to President Donald Trump’s inauguration and with a club-like hand gesturing to the sky, received mixed reviews when it was erected in July 2019.

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

Brad Downey told Reuters he wanted to understand who targeted the statue and why.

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

Melania Trump, a model who grew up in Slovenia when it was part of Yugoslavia, moved to the US in the 1990s.

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

Image source Wikimedia

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In recent speeches, including his Independence Day address, President Donald Trump has taken a hard-line against those who vandalize or tear down statues.

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

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

In August 2019, a wooden statue of President Trump was constructed in Slovenia, east of the capital Ljubljana. Like the rendering of Melania Trump, the statue of her husband divided opinion.

Standing nearly 26ft tall, the statue was burnt to the ground by unknown arsonists in January 2020.