The 20-foot helium balloon depicted the former US President s a man full of hot air.
The giant orange ‘baby blimp’ that followed the former US President Donald Trump during his travels to the UK, has earned a spot in a London museum. This 6-meter high (20-foot tall) inflatable caricature ridiculing the US leader, became a symbol of UK protest against him, where hundreds of thousands of Britons participated in a protest prior to his first visit to the country.
The helium-filled balloon was paid for by crowdfunding and offers classic satirical ridicule of Trump as an orange baby wearing a nappy, and his tiny hands holding onto a smartphone. It is reported that almost double the amount required was raised, about $8000. On its first debut, the balloon rose over Parliament Square during Trump’s first visit to the UK in 2018. The baby blimp drew lots of attention when London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who Trump sparring with occasionally, authorized its flight over the city during his first visit.
It was seen again during his 2019 state visit and has flown across Ireland, Argentina, France, Denmark, and several parts of the US. After an eventful four years, marked by a global tour, the Trump baby balloon will retire at the Museum of London.
Designed by Matt Bonner, and constructed by Leicester-based Imagine Inflatables. The idea is to have it preserved and added to the museum’s’ protest collection that showcases artifacts from the climate-crisis rallies, Suffragette movement, and peace activism. This effigy will stand out as a reminder against “politics of hate” and the “politics of resistance.”
Nigel Farage, a loyal friend of Donald Trump described its 2018 debut as the “biggest insult to a sitting US President”. Trump himself reacted to the blimp by saying “no reason for me to go to London.” The Guardian quotes the director of the London Museum, Sharon Ament describing the balloon as “satirical” and stressing that the museum remains non-political.
Not everyone found the balloon funny and this was evident in protests outside an LSU-Alabama game in Tuscaloosa where a man in an Alabama shirt stabbed the balloon to deflate it as he screamed at the people protesting Trump’s presence. He was later arrested. Organizers of the Trump balloon revealed that they had six other versions of the balloon so they were not worried about its destruction.
It is surprising how the blimp that made headlines across the globe is now in a museum squashed inside a suitcase. The blimp’s creators describe their blimp fanbase as a global movement of marginalized people who felt endangered by Trump’s politics.
Trump remains a highly unpopular and controversial figure across the United Kingdom. A September Pew Research study revealed that only 1 in 5 people across Canada and Western Europe trust Trump’s ability to make the right decisions in international affairs. It even shows that the former US president is less trusted than Chinese President Xi Jin Ping or Russian President Putin in the wake of his dismal handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.