The protest presence against President Donald Trump and his cronies is not going away anytime soon. This week, when he held a rally in Broward County, Florida, Democrats brought out one of the infamous baby Trump blimps that depicts the president as a crying baby with a phone representing the real-life version’s Twitter obsession. The rally appearance, which included a group of volunteers specially designated to help keep the peace around the display, came after a frenzied Trump supporter stabbed the apparently same balloon when activists brought it to a college football game that Trump attended.
The Miami Herald explains:
‘The balloon, one of six “cloned” from the original balloon crafted by British artist Matthew Bonner in 2018, was carefully monitored by police officers — plus a group of volunteers who are specially trained to deescalate crowds who may get boisterous when they behold the bright orange, diaper-wearing, cellphone-clutching figure.’
The man — Hoyt Hutchinson — who attacked the balloon with a knife at that football game was arrested and charged with felony first-degree criminal mischief. He’d posted a rambling video message on Facebook earlier in the day, insisting that he was intent on making a scene. Essentially, he confessed right there on camera. Although Trump infamously said at one point that he’d pay the legal fees of supporters who got in trouble for violence against protesters — that’s not exactly posed to happen anytime soon.
This time, those behind the balloon’s appearance were prepared for more potential spectacles like that one. Florida Democratic Party staffer Chris Hill told volunteers:
‘We need you to be the Secret Service for Baby Trump. If things start to escalate, don’t make eye contact. If people ‘bro pump’ with their chest, don’t engage on that level.’
One of the volunteer guards for the balloon, Rochelle Lessner, shared:
‘Baby Trump has gotten viciously attacked, and that’s just not respectful. I donated $50 to bring him here.’
The rally itself had plenty of eyecatching moments apart from anything associated with the balloon. Trump slurred his words at one point, referring to a jump in the “sock crocket” — meaning stock market.
The balloon has appeared at events in Florida since at least September 2018, when Mark Offerman brought it to a demonstration to raise awareness for the plight of Puerto Rico that was held outside the president’s residence in Palm Beach, where he’s spent a lot of time as president playing golf.
‘It’s a large burden to feed him with these bottles of helium, but it is a bit of fun.’
Trump has personally responded to the imagery before. After its very first emergence, which was connected to demonstrations against him in the United Kingdom, he complained that it made him feel unwelcome — which was, in fact, precisely the point. One million people signed a petition against Trump ever visiting the country at all, which mirrors the domestic situation that he faces. About one in two Americans support the currently ongoing impeachment inquiry against the president, and lower levels actually explicitly oppose it. About the same size portions approve and disapprove of the president’s performance in office overall.