‘Trump Baby’ blimp takes protest to new heights

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - Nation & World - By Karla Adam

LON­DON — Af­ter months of schem­ing, plot­ting and crowd­fund­ing, Leo Murray cranked his head sky­ward and watched what might be the world’s most fa­mous he­lium-filled bal­loon climb into the sky.

“What a joy­ous oc­ca­sion,” said Murray, 41, shortly af­ter the di­a­per-clad “Trump Baby” blimp took flight in Par­lia­ment Square. “Every­one is feel­ing up­lifted by this.”

Never has an in­flat­able got­ten such in­ter­na­tional me­dia at­ten­tion. And truth is, the blimpette isn’t all that large. We’ve seen big­ger bouncy cas­tles.

But the 20-foot blimp de­pict­ing an or­ange, an­gry, di­a­per-wear­ing Don­ald Trump as a baby has be­come the sym­bol of the large-scale protests that have met the U.S. pres­i­dent dur­ing his visit to the United King­dom.

“It’s hi­lar­i­ous, and that’s good — it’s good to put a smile on peo­ple’s faces in these trou­bling times,” said Murray, the brains be­hind the blimp protest.

But not every­one is smil­ing.

In an in­ter­view with the Sun news­pa­per, con­ducted this week, Trump ac­knowl­edged the bal­loon, say­ing that protests like this one in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal made him feel un­wel­come.

“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel un­wel­come, no rea­son for me to go to Lon­don,” he told the news­pa­per.

Some of Trump’s sup­port­ers have gone fur­ther, call­ing it in­sult­ing and de­mean­ing.

Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Twit­ter foe of Trump’s, de­fended his de­ci­sion to al­low the bal­loon to fly near Par­lia­ment. He told the BBC on Fri­day that as long as protests were safe and peace­ful, it wasn’t his job to “cen­sure” or de­cide what’s in good or bad taste.

For Murray, Trump’s

com­ments were seen as a vic­tory.

“It’s worked spec­tac­u­larly well. We’ve ba­si­cally run him out of Lon­don. He’s got the mes­sage: He’s not wel­come here,” he said. “If peo­ple are mock­ing you for be­ing a big an­gry baby, pos­si­bly the best re­tort is not to throw your toys out of the pram.”

The idea for a Trump baby blimp came to Murray last De­cem­ber. He said it just struck him “like a thun­der­bolt. I thought, wait, what if we have a gi­ant bal­loon made and made him a baby?”

“We had this idea, got some sketches, thought this is funny, and called our friend Matt, a graphic de­signer. And we found it fun­nier every step of the way. Every time we looked at the pic­ture we were laugh­ing, so we could sense we were onto some­thing,” he said.

The im­age fea­tures an an­gry, or­ange like­ness of a Don­ald Trump-look­ing baby wear­ing a di­a­per. The fig­ure is also clutch­ing a cell­phone that has the Twit­ter app open.

“We thought it would be funny, and seems like every­one agrees. Lit­er­ally we wanted to put a smile on every­one’s faces,” he said.

They had hoped to launch the blimp in Fe­bru­ary, when many thought Trump would visit Bri­tain to open the new U.S. Em­bassy. But Trump can­celed the visit, say­ing that the new em­bassy was the re­sult of a “bad deal” and was in an “off lo­ca­tion.”

“We had the thing made, and then it sat in a ware­house in Mid­lands for sev­eral months,” Murray said.

In April, when Trump’s first of­fi­cial visit to the U.K. was an­nounced, Murray started plan­ning. Af­ter crowd­fund­ing more than $396,000, much more than they needed to buy the in­flat­able and get it in the air, and an on­line pe­ti­tion, he and his mates fi­nally got ap­proval for the blimp to fly.

TOLGA AK­MEN/GETTY-AFP

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ac­knowl­edged the bal­loon, say­ing protests in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal made him feel un­wel­come.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.