A “living statue” of president Donald Trump appeared in downtown Manhattan on Tuesday, depicting him driving a golf cart over the tombstones of coronavirus victims and war dead.
Placed in New York’s Battery Park and called The Final Push, the golden tableau has actors depicting Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham pushing the cart from behind. The actor playing Mr Trump is pointing a gold club ahead of him like a sword. A cameraman squats beside him filming the scene.
Inscriptions on the tombstones shown being knocked over by the cart read: “In Tragic Memory Of: ‘It Is What It Is’” referring to the president’s comments in August about the soaring death toll from coronavirus.
A fifth tombstone reads: “In Tragic Memory Of: ‘Loser’”, continuing: “Words uttered by president Trump regarding American soldiers lost in battle”.
Watch: An anti-Trump artists' creation pops up in Manhattan
The final tombstone’s inscription comes as the row heats up over the president’s alleged remarks as reported in The Atlantic, with the White House denying that Mr Trump called fallen and captured US service personnel “suckers” and “losers” and skipped a visit to the graves of American war dead in France due to the rain potentially messing up his hair.
The president also denies the accusations levelled at him: “There is nobody that feels more strongly about our soldiers, our wounded warriors, our soldiers that died in war than I do.”
However, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and Fox News have independently confirmed The Atlantic’s reporting via their own sources.
US veterans and active duty soldiers were already leaning towards supporting former vice president Joe Biden in November’s election according to polling conducted by The Military Times before the publication of the bombshell article.
Just over 41 per cent said they would vote for Mr Biden, while 37 per cent preferred Mr Trump. The poll also found that 49.9 per cent had an unfavourable view of the president, compared with about 38 per cent who had a favourable view. His unfavourability rating rose to 60 per cent of active-duty officers.
The statue installation was set up by a collective of artists named The Trump Statue Initiative. Their website says the group serves as “a way for artists to share their point of view on our 45th President’s most notoriously self-serving, narcissistic, and racist moments”.
Similar statues appeared earlier in the year in Washington, DC, and Portland, Oregon.
Bryan Buckley, curator of the project, says that “the news cycle is so fast right now. Even the ‘loser’ thing — three, four, days later it was pushed out of the headlines”, The Daily News reports.
“I see this as an opportunity to slow down and get voters to think about this moment and really think about ‘am I okay with the moment?’ If not, then you should help bote this president out of office,” said Mr Buckley.
An inscription on the statue’s plinth reads: “Donald Trump, Destroyer of Civil Rights and Liberties, 2016-2020.”
Mr Buckley adds that the team responsible for the installation always makes an effort to talk to passersby about registering to vote, and that the response was largely “super positive”.
The US death toll from coronavirus has now topped 190,000, with 6.25 million confirmed cases.