What you need to know about the Trump Baby blimp that will greet POTUS in the U.K.
Q: Wait, a Trump Baby blimp—is this for real?
Yes, indeed. In early June, a group of British activists launched a political fundraiser called "Trump Baby" on the U.K. crowdfunding site Crowdfunder. Per the project's description,
Donald Trump is a big, angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands. He's also racist demagogue who is a danger to women, immigrants and minorities and a mortal threat to world peace and the very future of life on earth. Moral outrage is water off a duck's back to Trump. But he really seems to hate it when people make fun of him. So when Trump visits the UK on Friday the 13th of July this year, we want to make sure he knows that all of Britain is looking down on him and laughing at him. That's why a group of us have chipped in and raised enough money to have a 6 meter high blimp made by a professional inflatables company, to be flown in the skies over Parliament Square during Trump's visit.
The idea quickly gained traction in Britain, and the organizers shortly thereafter updated their Crowdfunder description to read,
We now have easily enough money to make him fly on the 13th! Any donations to the crowdfunder from here on in will go to support the Trump Baby World Tour! ... Getting Trump Baby aloft from a single location for just one day will cost over £700 for enough helium to fill a blimp this size—a target we smashed within hours of opening our crowdfunder. We will also now be able to fly Trump Baby in a separate location closer to the big orange sex pest himself during his visit, guaranteeing that he won't be missed by the President and his entourage.
Q: So this stunt has been a go since early June?
Well, not quite. Access to London airspace via a high-profile location became an issue. As the organizers noted later in June,
If we are unable to obtain consent to fly Trump Baby from Parliament Square Gardens, we may need to be creative about finding a suitable alternative location. ... Trump Baby needs an area of at least 5m square to safely inflate and take off from. If you know anyone with a large garden in central London, please get in touch!
On June 15, the lead Trump Baby organizer, an environmental activist named Leo Murray, appealed to the mayor of London in a Guardian guest editorial titled "Come on, Sadiq Khan, let our Trump Baby blimp fly above London." As Murray wrote,
In order to secure consent to protest in Parliament Square Gardens, you have to apply via the events team at City Hall. We're not planning to do anything that contravenes any bylaws for this space, which include using amplified music or anything you could sleep inside. We already have the public liability insurance required. Khan's officials, however, have insisted that Trump Baby blimp "is not a protest." "A protest is a gathering of people with banners and placards," they say. Apparently, Trump Baby is merely "art" and therefore not a legitimate applicant to protest outside the seat of our democracy.
Murray further noted that his group had started an online petition ("Let Trump Baby Fly," on the Change.org-type site 38 Degrees) to attempt to pressure Khan, and also appealed to the mayor's sense of patriotism while reminding everyone that Khan and Trump don't exactly have the best relationship to begin with:
Taking the piss is one of the few areas where Britain still leads the world, so the refusal from the mayor's office to let Trump Baby fly over Parliament feels somehow unpatriotic. It's embarrassing, too, that the London mayor has talked a good Twitter fight on Trump, but seems reluctant to follow through on his words.
Q. So now what?
Well, the petition—and/or the general support for the cheeky stunt among the British public—seems to have worked, because, as the BBC reports, on Thursday the London mayor's office issued a statement saying that Khan "supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms" and that the Trump Baby group now has permission to "use Parliament Square Garden as a grounding point for the blimp."
Or as Murray put it to the BBC, London's City Hall has "rediscovered its sense of humour."
Q. Friday, July 13 is fast approaching. Is Trump Baby actually finished and ready to fly?
Yes, and you can see it getting inflated in this brief video from The Guardian (released before London's City Hall granted official permission):