A wooden sculpture paying tribute to first lady Melania Trump near her hometown of Sevnica, Slovenia, was removed after being burned to the ground last weekend.
Berlin-based American artist Brad Downey, who commissioned the sculpture, told Reuters that he ordered the now scorched sculpture to be removed after police notified him it was set on fire on July 5 — a year after its unveiling.
“I want to know why they did it,” Downey, who had hoped the statue would spark discussion by highlighting how the first lady came to the U.S. as an immigrant but married a president who champions hardline immigration policies.
Downey told Reuters that he filed a police report and would like to interview the people who burned the sculpture for a film that he plans to feature in an exhibition in Slovenia in September.
The burning and removal of the wooden statue honoring the first lady comes on the heels of President Trump’s recent efforts to protect Confederate monuments and statues. Last month he signed an executive order to push the prosecution of those who vandalize monuments, as the movement to topple Confederate statues in the wake of George Floyd’s death grows across the U.S.