After Arson, Artist’s Pro-Trump ‘T’ Sign Reappears in Staten Island

It's called 'Freedom of Speech.'

Scott LoBaido unveils his sign in support 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the area of Castleton Corners on Staten Island, New York on August 9, 2016. Photo Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images.
Scott LoBaido unveils his sign in support 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in the area of Castleton Corners on Staten Island, New York on August 9, 2016. Photo Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images.

The sign will rise again.

Staten Islander Sam Pirozzolo, who found the giant pro-Trump “T” sign he’d erected on his lawn burning on Sunday, has erected a new one.

And it’s even bigger than the one that burned, expressing even greater support of the New York real estate developer and Republican presidential candidate.

New York artist Scott LoBaido, who created the sign, emblazoned with the stars and stripes and now standing 16 feet tall, calls it Freedom of Speech. A crowd of more than 100 gathered to witness its unveiling on Tuesday. A security fence encircles the piece, to discourage further vandalism.

On his website, LoBaido calls himself a “creative patriot” who focuses on “the intricate tapestry of American culture, freedom, patriotism, service, and nostalgia.” The works highlighted include a riff on Emmanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) where the sky is replaced with a psychedelic rendition of the American flag. (The red of the stripes, notably, is replaced with orange, a color often associated with Trump.) The Statue of Liberty and John Wayne also put in appearances.

 

The burning of LoBaido’s original, 12-foot-tall sign—which had stood like a traditional lawn sign on steroids for three months—is under investigation as arson. But Pirozzolo argues that it represents an even worse offense.

“This is like the Ku Klux Klan coming into my yard telling me I need to shut up,” Pirozzolo told DNAinfo. “How could that not be a hate crime?” Hate crimes do not currently include crimes against non-minority groups; the Ku Klux Klan was a white terrorist group that menaced and murdered blacks in the South for decades.

New York artist Scott LoBaido works on a 'Patriotic Lawn T' in support 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Staten Island. Courtesy of Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images.

New York artist Scott LoBaido works on a ‘Patriotic Lawn T’ in support 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump in Staten Island. Courtesy of Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images.

Trump himself has reportedly weighed in on the incident: Pirozzolo told the New York Post that the presidential candidate called him to say “This is Donald Trump. I saw what happened all over the news. I appreciate everything you are doing.”

The Donald has inspired an outpouring of anti-Trump art projects; this is one of the few pro-Trump artworks to garner national attention. (That seemingly-rare breed, the pro-Trump artist, does have a Facebook page, at least.)

The artist tells DNAinfo that calls have poured in from people wanting him to build the sign in other places too, but he says this is the only one he’s making.


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