Trump baby blimp to greet commuters over Los Angeles freeways

Andrew Gumbel in Los Angeles
A giant Donald Trump baby blimp was flown over London when the US president visited in July. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

The giant Donald Trump baby blimp that dogged the US president’s visit to the United Kingdom this summer will float above one of the busiest freeway intersections in Los Angeles this weekend to greet Trump supporters and detractors attending a star-studded political conference ahead of November’s midterm elections.

The image of Trump dressed only in a diaper and clutching a cell phone in a small baby hand proved such a hit – and such an evident thorn in the president’s side – when it flew over London and Edinburgh in July, that an activist group in the United States has raised funds to purchase six of them.

The Backbone Campaign, based outside Seattle, is now busy exhibiting the helium-filled Trump baby (also known as Diaper Donald) whenever possible around the country.

The first made its appearance near Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, in August. Another floated over Spokane, Washington, at the beginning of this month to greet Vice President Mike Pence on a campaign visit.

The Los Angeles baby is likely to make the biggest impact, since it will be seen by tens of thousands of commuters driving the freeways in and around downtown Los Angeles. The Politicon conference – which aims to do for politics what Comic-Con does for superhero entertainment franchises – will unfold just a few hundred yards away at the LA Convention Center.

Headliners for the event include the British comedian-turned-aspiring-political-candidate Eddie Izzard – who may remember Baby Trump from the London protests – the hardball anti-Trump lawyer Michael Avenatti, the former New Jersey governor and early Trump champion Chris Christie, and the former Trump foreign policy adviser and suspected Russian intelligence asset Carter Page. Also attending will be a smattering of talking heads familiar from the airwaves including prominent conservatives Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter and Tami Lahren.

The president himself, however, will not be in attendance.

When Baby Trump made its debut, the Trump-supporting former UKIP leader Nigel Farage called it “the biggest insult to a sitting US president ever”. Trump himself steered clear of central London after learning about it, and the mass protests against his visit, preferring to meet Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers and the Queen at Windsor Castle. “I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome,” he said, “no reason for me to go to London.”

When the blimp was first sighted in the United States, some people threatened to shoot it down, and one New Jersey woman started raising money so she could make bail after doing so.

Politicon’s organizers have listed Baby Trump as an official guest of the conference. Whether conservatives will find his presence at the intersection of the 10 and 110 freeways more objectionable than, say, Avenatti’s, remains to be seen.