FACTS about Trump's Golden Statue at CPAC 2021: Outlook, Reactions
A woman takes a photo with a golden Donald Trump statue at the Conservative Political Action (CPAC) conference on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (Sam Thomas/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Trump's Golden State Outlook

With the first full day of the Conservative Political Action Conference underway, there's already an indisputable star: an outrageously golden statue of Donald Trump wearing shorts and flip-flops.

The more than 6-foot-tall statue turned heads as it was wheeled into the Hyatt Regency Thursday evening while CPAC attendees picked up their registration and milled about the hotel. The statue was on its way to the conference's exhibit hall, where it found a home in a booth for a conservative nonprofit called Look Ahead America.

Tommy Zegan, a California-based artist, created the Trump statue in response to the multiple pieces of art mocking Trump.

Golden statue of Donald Trump is being wheeled around CPAC and reactions from political analysis

A golden statue of Donald Trump is being wheeled around an annual conservative political conference where the former president is expected to speak on Sunday in his first public appearance since leaving office, said People.

The statue, which features a cartoonishly large head and American flag shorts, was spotted at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando and soon spread around social media.

"They've literally made a golden calf! This would be a good time for CPAC attendees to read the Second Commandment," wrote Washington Post columnist James Hohmann.

"The golden calf jokes aren't subtle and wry when they make it all obvious like that," tweeted Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, a columnist for MSNBC.

And Molly Jong-Fast, the editor at The Daily Beast, called the Trump statue "so very on brand" for the annual CPAC gathering.

Some pro-Trump CPAC attendees were heard relishing the statue of the former president, according to a widely shared video from Bloomberg reporter William Turton.

"That is so cool!" one person says.

"Four more years!" another adds, while others can be heard laughing or seen taking photos.

CNN spoke with the statue's creator, California-based artist Tommy Zegan, who called it "literally priceless."

"Two years ago, when I saw all those statues of naked Trump and Trump on a toilet, I said, 'You know what? I can do better,' " Zegan told the network.

He said that he would be "ecstatic" if Trump decided to run for president again in 2024 after leaving office under the cloud of the deadly U.S. Capitol attack by a mob of his supporters.

"If he wants it to happen, it will happen," Zegan said.

After chastising Trump as "practically and morally responsible" for the Capitol rioting, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Fox News this week he would "absolutely" support another Trump bid, should Trump win the nomination in three years.

And Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a longtime Trump critic, acknowledged to The New York Times that the former president will "continue playing a role" in the fractured GOP, of which Romney now represents a "tiny wing."

"I don't know if he'll run in 2024 or not, but if he does I'm pretty sure he will win the nomination," Romney said.

FACTS about Trump's Golden Statue at CPAC 2021: Outlook, Reactions

The golden statue of Trump at CPAC is a perfect metaphor for the state of the GOP

There are so many reasons why the golden statue of Trump at CPAC is a perfect metaphor for the state of the GOP after the Trump presidency.

The party sacrificed its commitment to political principles, including previously cherished ideals like free trade, on the altar of Trumpism. White evangelicals abandoned their alleged commitments to godliness in public servants and embraced a man accused of serial sexual assault who had an affair with a porn star and paid her hush money to cover it up. Conservatism, once seen as a high-minded intellectual tradition, became undeniably base and degraded in the Trump years, according to VOX.

But above all else, the statue points to the way in which the GOP remains the party of Trump even after his presidency — gaudy golden aesthetic and all. The party’s base is so committed to the former president that they construct idols of him, literally, to stand up at their premier political conference.

The party leadership understands that, of course. It’s why the vast bulk of the GOP Senate caucus embraced flimsy constitutional rationales for acquitting Trump in the most recent impeachment trial, despite clear evidence that he incited the January 6 riot at the US Capitol that threatened their lives. They are too afraid of their own voters to turn on Trump, and so have no choice but to embrace him — despite knowing how much of a threat he poses to their party and American democracy.

Trump’s hold is so powerful, in fact, that even his children are now considered leading possibilities for the 2024 GOP nomination — despite the complete lack of relevant qualifications.

A recent poll found that Donald Trump Jr. was one of the most popular choices for the 2024 nomination, doing better than Sens. Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley combined. On Fox News Thursday night, former GOP House member and Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows openly proclaimed that it’s still Trump’s party — either Donald, Donald Jr.’s, or Ivanka’s. “We will see the start of planning for the next administration and I can tell you — the people that are at the top of that list, all of them have Trump as their last name,” he says.

In the Bible, the Golden Calf story ends with a furious Moses destroying the idol — dumping its ashes into water and forcing the Israelites to drink it as punishment. In theory, the voters in 2020 could have been the party’s Moses, the loss of the White House and the Senate their bitter ashwater.

FACTS about Trump's Golden Statue at CPAC 2021: Outlook, Reactions

‘Golden calf’ statue of Donald Trump sparks Biblical ridicule at CPAC

Social media users were quoting the Ten Commandments film and the Book of Exodus in droves on Friday, after video from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) revealed a golden idol-like statue of former U.S. President Donald Trump, Globalnews.ca reported.

Many people used the footage as a springboard to criticize the Republican Party and its seemingly undying devotion to Trump, whom the House of Representatives impeached for inciting a riot at the U.S. Capitol last month after losing the election to Joe Biden, in a rare defeat for an incumbent candidate.

Commentators, critics and journalists compared the statue to the story of the golden calf in Exodus — a Judeo-Christian tale of people worshiping a false god.

In the story, Moses climbs a mountain to receive the 10 Commandments from God after leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. His people camp out below the mountain, but they become restless without their leader’s guidance and eventually fashion a golden calf to worship.

Moses comes down from the mountain with the 10 Commandments written on two tablets, but he flies into a rage when he sees his people worshiping a false idol — something God explicitly forbids in one of the commandments. He smashes the tablets in his fury and rebukes everyone for straying from a righteous path.

Social media users compared the Old Testament and Torah story to the current state of the GOP heading into CPAC, as the party grapples with whether to find a new leader or double down on its defeated president for 2024.

“My God,” user Chuck Kourouklis wrote, in a reply that generated thousands of likes. “They have now made him a literal golden calf.”

Longtime Republican and Trump critic Bill Kristol, who served in the George H. W. Bush administration, called Trump “the golden calf of the GOP” on Twitter.

“Worshipping golden idols has never worked out well,” wrote Tara Setmayer, of the conservative anti-Trump Lincoln Project.

Others compared the statue’s proportions to Bart Simpson and Bob’s Big Boy, the giant grinning mascot for a U.S. burger chain.

Gold has always been closely associated with Trump’s brand, from his days as the real estate developer with a supposed “Midas touch,” to the golden Trump Tower setting featured in his reality show The Apprentice, to his design choices while he was living in the White House.

Conservative Political Action Conference 2021

FACTS about Trump's Golden Statue at CPAC 2021: Outlook, Reactions
Technicians work on the stage before the start of the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando on Thursday, February 25.

Republican politicians, media personalities and activists are gathering this weekend in Florida for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, an event that could offer an early window into the party's 2024 presidential contest while also amplifying false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

Former President Donald Trump will be the star of the show in Orlando, delivering a Sunday afternoon speech -- one in which he is expected to continue to falsely claim that the presidential election was stolen -- that will mark his first public comments since leaving the White House, said CNN.

The lineup includes some of Trump's staunchest allies on Capitol Hill, including Florida Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. And it includes several of his strongest supporters from the states: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

It also features several veterans of Trump's administration, including former secretary of state Mike Pompeo, former housing and urban development secretary Ben Carson and former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who is running for governor of Arkansas with Trump's endorsement. Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. and his girlfriend and Trump campaign aide Kimberly Guilfoyle are also speaking.

This year's CPAC is certain to demonstrate Trump's firm hold of the GOP -- and the conservative base's eagerness to turn Trump's falsehoods about election fraud into policy action, as several state legislatures move to impose new voting restrictions. Seven panels or speeches at the conference are taking place under the title of protecting elections.

The event's theme is "America Uncanceled," a title that underscores another focus: "cancel culture," or conservatives' belief -- amplified since Twitter and other social media platforms banned Trump in the wake of the deadly January 6 insurrection -- that expressing their views has placed them at risk of backlash.

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