San Francisco was one of five cities ‘graced’ with the effigies of the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee courtesy of a nonprofit activist group called Indecline and a Las Vegas artist named Joshua Monroe, known for creating haunted house monsters.
The San Francisco Trump was installed at the corner of Market and Castro streets, the heart of the city’s largely gay Castro District, where it attracted a nearly instantaneous crowd, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Trump statues also were installed at 8 a.m. in well-known locations in Los Angeles, Seattle, Cleveland and New York, the newspaper said.
“It was almost similar to planning a bank robbery,” said a spokesman for Indecline, who declined to give his name, but said it took months to get the plan together.
“I was in New York, and we installed it at Union Square,” the spokesman said.
“Then it was just a matter of blending into the crowd and letting all hell break loose,” he said.
The San Francisco Trump stood at Jane Warner Plaza for more than six hours, enough time to attract selfie-taking tourists and wise-cracking locals, and for one city supervisor to mount an unsuccessful campaign to preserve the figure.
But other cities were not so tolerant.
The New York Trump was torn down by city workers in around two hours, and Cleveland’s Trump lasted 20 minutes.
Monroe, who hails from Cleveland, was profoundly disappointed at the quick exit there.
“That’s my hometown,” Monroe said.
“I said I would do this project pro bono, but I said we had to do one in Cleveland,” he said.
“That it went up and down with very little fanfare was heartbreaking,” Monroe said.
But the battle for San Francisco seemed far from over.
Iconic downtown restaurant Lefty O’Doul’s offered to take the statue and put it on display, spokesman Lee Houskeeper told the newspaper.
Monroe said the statues took nearly five months to build with 300 pounds of Monster Makers clay and 400 pounds of rebar and concrete, but said he wasn’t disappointed to see them torn down.
“People have asked if I was upset that the statues are being destroyed,” Monroe said.
“Not at all — I wouldn’t mind taking a baseball bat to one,” he said.
The Indecline spokesman said his group was motivated to pull off the stunt by Trump’s rise in the polls and his capture of a major party nomination.
“Trump was on our radar months back but unfortunately it became more and more of a reality,” the spokesman said.
“I guess America wasn’t joking,” he said.
But the public’s reaction to the multi-city statue project was no joke, either.
Monroe said he hoped the statues would enhance his reputation as an artist, and Indecline admitted the outcry was beyond even its most optimistic expectation.