A wooden statue depicting First Lady Melania Trump located near her hometown of Slovenia was set on fire by vandals on the night of Fourth of July as Americans celebrated Independence Day.
The artist who commissioned the statue, Brad Downey told Reuters he had the blackened and disfigured life-sized sculpture removed as soon as police informed him of the vandalism.
“There’s a lot of buzz around the destruction of monuments, so it could come from left-leaning people,” Downey said about the torched statue. “I want to know why they did it.”
The nine-feet tall wooden sculpture, named “Melania” was carved out of a linden tree with a chainsaw last year. A local chainsaw sculptor Ales Zupevc, better known as Maxi was commissioned by Downey to create the sculpture. Despite the statue’s face being nondescript to the exact likeliness of the First Lady, the figure was painted with a light blue wraparound coat to reflect the cashmere dress and gloves the First Lady wore during her husband, President Trump inauguration in 2017.
The artist said he filed a police report but only wants to interview them as part of an upcoming exhibition of his work in the first lady’s native country.
“The face is burned but the features are intact — we can still see the face,” Downey added, noting that tires were likely put around the head and then dumped gasoline on it. “The blue dress is still all blue.”
Slovenia police confirmed that the statue was set on fire in the early hours of July 5. An investigation is ongoing and is considering the case as “damage to property which is a criminal offense.”
Melania’s office did not respond to request for comment on the news.
The life-size statue was unveiled almost exactly a year ago as a tribute to the First Lady on the banks of the Sava. However, the statue was met with mixed opinions by locals after its debut. One resident said the Melania depicted in the sculpture “does not look as beautiful as she normally is,” while another local said the statue looked like “Smurfette.”