Trump's popularity in the Red state has drastically dropped since the Jan 6th riot, which could explain the repeated vandalism of his wax statue at the San Antonio museum.
A wax statue of former President Donald Trump in Texas had to be removed from display since it seemed like a lot of visitors did not seem to appreciate it. The Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks on Alamo Plaza, where wax Trump was housed, had to move the statue into storage after people kept punching it. There was just too much damage inflicted on the wax replica for it to be left on public display.
The former Republican president, who lost his second run for office in November 2020, does not seem to be very popular with the visitors at the Texas museum. The wax museum manager told San Antonio Express-News that repair may take a while and the statue will not be seeing the light of day anytime soon.
Clay Stewart, regional manager for Ripley Entertainment, which owns the wax museum said that vandalizing the wax statues of highly political figures is a problem. Trump was a controversial public figure from the beginning of his tenure as president right till the end. Before he took office, there were overwhelming allegations of sexual assault against the billionaire-businessman turned politician. After being voted out in 2020, Trump took to Twitter, alleging voter fraud with no actual proof, and instigated his supporters to storm the Capitol to "Stop the Steal" of the election by the Democrats. This cost Trump his Twitter account and has permanently suspended from the microblogging site.
Texas is a red state but in a recent survey conducted by Pew Research Center, Trump's approval rating has plummeted. He left the White House with the lowest job approval of his presidency, at 29 percent, and increasingly negative ratings for his post-election conduct as well, stated the survey. Many of his own followers turned critical of his actions especially after the Capitol riot on January 6. The wax museum, however, maintains that the removal of Trump's battered statue was the result of only the damage it sustained and has nothing to do with the fall in his public status. Not even moving Trump's statue near the ticket counter, where there would be surveillance helped his cause. The statue was still damaged and now will remain in storage indefinitely.
“Our wax figures will need repairing from time to time,” Suzanne Smagala-Potts, Ripley Entertainment’s public relations director stated. Wax figures are rotated all the time at the museum and owing to the limited space, different wax figures are put on display at different times depending on their relevance and popularity. But the aggressive behavior towards Trump does not seem to be an isolated incident. The wax figures of other US presidents, too, have been vandalized by visitors in the past, including those of Bush and Obama. “We’ve always had trouble with the presidential section because no matter what president it was," Stewart said. “The ears were torn off Obama six times. And then Bush’s nose was punched in.”
Obama's statue has not been attacked as much since he left office. The wax statues are usually sent to Orlando for repairs but this has been challenging currently due to the pandemic and restrictions. “People are just aggressive about their political party,” Stewart noted. The museum is now expecting to receive the wax statue of current President Joe Biden.
Cover image representational only (Source: Getty/Chris J Ratcliffe)