UPDATE: Call it a victory for free speech rights — and for ardent opponents of President Donald Trump's planned trip to the United Kingdom.
A giant “Trump Baby” balloon will indeed fly over London during the president’s visit to the city later this month.
The Trump Baby balloon is 6 meters, or approximately 100 feet, tall. It will fly on July 13, 9:30-11:30 a.m., local London time, and will be tethered to its launch point near the Parliament building.
Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Greater London Authority approved the flight of the balloon, which depicts the United States president as an angry baby wearing a diaper.
“The Mayor supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms,” a statement from Khan’s office read. “His city operations team have met with the organizers and have given them permission to use Parliament Square Garden as a grounding point for the blimp.”
The flight of the Trump Baby won’t likely cause the president to make any substantial policy changes. But Trump’s planned presence in the city sparked outrage among Londoners, who plan to protest him coming there in a monumental way.
Using the Trump Baby to express that anger is highly appropriate and a fair way for citizens there to express their free speech rights. Khan made the right choice in approving the balloon's flight.
Sometimes humor, sprinkled with a bit of ridicule, can be a powerful way to get a political message heard. Activists in London are hoping to get a lot of laughs this summer, as they plan to sail a giant balloon of President Donald Trump’s likeness, albeit as a baby, when he visits the United Kingdom next month.
The giant orange Trump baby, standing at 20 feet tall, would conceivably fly over Parliament on July 13, when Trump intends to visit for what’s being dubbed a “working visit.” Trump’s travels to the UK will not be an official state visit due to tensions between citizens and lawmakers who do not want the president of the United States to come at all.
Protests against Trump’s visit have been planned for quite some time, but no one probably imagined that they would include a giant orange baby that looks like Trump. When the crowdfunded campaign to create the balloon reached its goal, organizer Leo Murray hit another snag in his plans — the possibility that London officials wouldn’t allow his balloon to fly at all.
We have asked the Mayor to let us fly him over Parliament when Trump visits Britain on 13th July. But officials at City Hall have told us that #TrumpBaby is “not a protest”. Apparently, he is “art”.— Leo Murray (@crisortunity) June 13, 2018
Here he is, all 6m of him:
According to Murray, the city is deeming his Trump blimp as “art,” not protest, and therefore making it easier to subject it to restrictions. London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has clashed with Trump in the past, has the final say on the flight of the Trump baby.
The Trump baby — depicting the president's iconic yellowish hair and orange skin, while also wearing a large diaper — even has its own Twitter account, where it’s been updating fans on the status of its flight whenever possible. The likeness of Trump even holds its own cellular phone device, from which it conceivably sends its tweets.
Murray said he hopes the Trump baby can send a strong message to the real Trump.
“Moral outrage has no affect on Trump because he has no shame, he’s immune to it,” Murray said. “But he has a tremendously fragile ego so ridicule is an effective form of protest.”
Humor is frequently used as a means for political protest, and the Trump baby would be a hilarious way to greet the president when he arrives in London next month. The mayor should approve the balloon’s sailing, allowing Londoners to voice their displeasure with the American head of state.