Why Is There a Giant Chicken Trump Outside the White House? You Can Thank One Plucky Artist

The original Trump Chicken was commissioned to celebrate Chinese New Year—and the Year of the Rooster—for 2017.

An inflatable chicken mimicking US President Donald Trump is set up on the Ellipse, a 52-acre park located just south of the White House and north of the Washington Monument. Courtesy of Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.
An inflatable chicken mimicking US President Donald Trump is set up on the Ellipse, a 52-acre park located just south of the White House and north of the Washington Monument. Courtesy of Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images.

If President Donald Trump had been home on Wednesday, he would’ve beheld an unusual sight outside the White House: a 30-foot-tall inflatable chicken that bears a distinct resemblance to him—with an angry scowl and a golden thatch of hair—perched above the White House lawn.

The Trump chicken is the work of Seattle-based illustrator and animator Casey Latiolais, who was commissioned to create a fiberglass version earlier this year, to go on display outside a Chinese shopping mall in honor of Chinese New Year, which celebrates the year of the rooster in 2017. Inflatable versions soon proliferated around China.

Latiolais has been coy about the artwork’s Trumpian features, but artist documentary filmmaker Taran Singh Brar is embracing the obvious similarity full stop. He discovered the “Chicken Don,” as he has dubbed the work, earlier this year, and soon became obsessed. Brar helped organize the April 15 Tax March—a nationwide protest calling for Trump to release his tax returns—which adopted the Trump chicken as a mascot at his urging.

Brar told USA Today that that balloon is a criticism of Trump as a “weak and ineffective leader,” adding that “he’s too afraid to release his tax returns, too afraid to stand up to Vladimir Putin and [is] playing chicken with North Korea.”

Yesterday’s event was the result of months of planning. Brar took several trips to Washington, DC, since March, to secure permits from the National Park Service and the Secret Service. He installed the balloon on the Ellipse, a park directly behind the White House.


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