President Donald Trump’s determination to preserve iconic statues and monuments is so deep and so ardent that he is apparently extending his policy abroad.
In a round of new digital announcements, Trump’s re-election asks people to support the president as he faces angry mobs trying to tear down iconic monuments. In a specific ad, the endangered statue highlighted by the campaign is the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“The president wants to know who was with him against the radical left,” declared dozens of announcements published over the weekend on pages for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. The ads featured a graphic with an image of the Christ the Redeemer statue above the text, “WE WILL PROTECT THIS.” The photo appears to come from an online database of free images.
The ads, which were posted on Facebook and Instagram, appear as the Trump campaign increasingly focuses on the destruction and removal of historical monuments and statues by protesters across the country, many of them relics from the Jim era. Crow, but others linked to colonial America and even some honoring abolitionist and civil rights icons. Trump focused significant attention on the matter during a speech at Mount Rushmore over the weekend of July 4.
However, unlike the statues that Trump and his team have focused on to date, Christ the Redeemer is not in the United States. There is no indication that the 125-foot sculpture, which sits atop Corcovado Mountain overlooking Rio, is at risk of vandalism or removal. It’s also unclear how Trump or Pence could protect him if he were threatened, which, again, doesn’t appear to be.
There have been protests against other famous likenesses of Jesus Christ around the world; In India, Hindu nationalists recently protested plans for a new statue that could rival in size the Christ the Redeemer. But the Brazilian statue does not appear to have been attacked. In fact, it has been used instead to promote messages of unity and perseverance as Brazil recovers from a large coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Trump has promised to protect statues of Jesus Christ in the United States, and has protested calls by some progressives, notably a single spokesperson for Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential campaign, to remove or replace Christian images.
It was not immediately clear if the Trump campaign knew that the image he chose for his Facebook ads over the weekend showed a statue in another country.
According to Facebook’s political ad data, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising account for the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee, paid between $ 14,000 and $ 22,000 to promote 67 versions of the ad on Facebook. and Instagram. The ads, which began running on Friday and are now inactive, were viewed between 930,000 and 1.1 million times, according to Facebook data.
In addition to making the preservation of American statues and monuments a cornerstone of his reelection campaign over the past week, Trump has signed an executive order creating an Interagency Task Force for the Construction and Reconstruction of Monuments to American Heroes, commissioning a new “National Garden” “Featuring images of several famous Americans, and calling for an intensified prosecution of people who damage or remove statues and monuments of federal ownership.
“Our people have great memories,” Trump said during his speech at Mount Rushmore. “They will never forget the destruction of statues and monuments to George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, abolitionists, and many others.”