This Thursday, President Donald Trump was set to visit Baltimore where he’d speak at the opening dinner of the annual legislative strategy retreat for the GOP. Dramatic protests promptly sprung up, including one group who put up a large balloon depicting Trump himself as a rat. (The imagery has Trump’s head on a ratlike body.) It’s a statement of who the “real rats” are in this situation shortly after Trump claimed that Baltimore was “rat and rodent infested” and “no human being would want to live there,” comments which drew wide condemnation. At the time, he also singled out local Congressman Elijah Cummings as supposedly behind or in some way responsible for the mess via mismanagement or something.
Check out the balloon:
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) September 12, 2019
Seemingly forever addicted to obsessing over his public image, Trump surely won’t like this if he hears of it.
The imagery of Trump as a rat is the work of Claude Taylor and his Mad Dog PAC, who also put up a street sign marking the town’s President Street as “President Barack Obama Avenue.” Taylor has shared that he’s had the balloon in various places already, even including on a boat off the Florida coast where the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort is situated. Taylor claims his group has had the rat balloon for a little more than a year — which means that the president became something like a self-fulfilling prophecy of belligerence, since that means they got it before Trump actually denounced Baltimore as supposedly rat-infested and dangerous.
Besides this demonstration, the Mad Dog PAC has been behind a number of similar ones across the country, like a billboard that went up in Kentucky denouncing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for caving to “Russian money.” Controversy has raged over a deal that went through for the Russian metals giant Rusal to hold a large financial stake in a newly planned Kentucky mill, a deal made possible in part by McConnell voting to strike down sanctions against the company.
Back in Baltimore, Taylor is definitely not the only figure who came out against Trump. A coalition of local groups planned a protest for this afternoon just outside of the hotel where Trump would be visiting with GOP summit attendees.
Protest organizer Miranda Bachman asserted:
‘The people of Baltimore, especially young people, are deeply opposed to Trump’s policies of racism and division, whether it’s his attacks on migrants or refugees or his not so veiled racist attacks on Black and Brown people.’
Trump protesters in Baltimore pic.twitter.com/i8vLkDUqJS
— Dawn🇺🇸🌎💙 (@DawnyDec) September 12, 2019
It’s true — many of Trump’s most passionate attacks on his political opponents have been directed at people of color. In a spectacle of racism that even prompted a formal denunciation from the (Democrat-majority) House, Trump insisted that a group of first-term women of color serving in Congress should “go back where they came from” rather than keep criticizing his administration. Soon after, a crowd at a rally of his chanted “Send her back!” targeting Ilhan Omar — one of the members of Congress he’d targeted — and despite his melodramatic claims of being against the chant, he made absolutely no show against it in the moment itself.
Featured Image via screenshot