By Nicole Lyn Pesce
This is pure Twitter gold.
The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, kicked off in Orlando, Fla., last week with someone wheeling in a golden statue of Donald Trump.
And the inevitable comparisons to the Old Testament story of the Israelites worshiping a false idol in the form of a golden calf spread across social media faster than you can say “Moses.” In fact, “golden calf” and related terms like “Moses” and “CPAC” were soon trending on Twitter last Friday morning.
But wait, there’s more: Turns out, that golden Trump statue was made in China, although artist Tommy Zegan had previously said it was built in Mexico. Zegan’s business parter Jose Mauricio Mendoza confirmed to Politico that the piece was manufactured at the Shijiazhuang D & Z Sculpture Co. factory in China. “Everything is made in China,” said Mendoza. “I want to be straight, because if I’m going to sell these statues, they have to be true.”
Mendoza added that he was the original “architect” of the golden idol, not Zegan, and that he modeled the statue after a Trump bobblehead. But Zegan was credited with the statue design at first because “no one is going to buy ‘Jose’ stuff, at least not a Donald Trump statue,” Mendoza said.
As for the false idol references, here’s a quick Sunday-school refresher on the biblical anecdote:
While Moses was away receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, the Israelites were suffering a crisis of faith. So they handed over their gold ornaments and jewelry for the construction of a calf to worship. This angered both God and Moses, who had recently led the Israelites away from Egyptian bondage. And upon his return, an angry Moses destroyed the false idol by burning and grinding it into a powder, scattering the ashes into water, and forcing the Israelites to drink it.
So it should come as no surprise that the golden Trump statue inspired jokes and political commentary of biblical proportions across social media. Many called out conservatives for worshiping a “false idol” by continuing to follow the former president, who was impeached twice and who has undermined the U.S. presidential election process by pushing debunked, baseless claims that an election he claimed to have won handily had been stolen from him, even as President Joe Biden racked up 7,058,909 more votes.
There were also plenty of irreverent jokes at the expense of the statue’s appearance, which gilded the former president in a pair of star-spangled board shorts and flip flops, and placed him in a stance that resembled cartoon character Bart Simpson on a skateboard, if not a Bob’s Big Boy statue.
The conservative conference last weekend marked Trump’s first post-presidential public appearance when he delivered the keynote speech on Sunday.
How much of the GOP is still on board with Trump has been a topic of much debate, however. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the House’s third-ranking Republican, has said that “I don’t believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party” following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Trump was impeached on charges that he incited the riot, but the Senate acquitted him last month, with seven Senate Republicans joining all Democrats and independents in finding Trump guilty.
Yet former Rep. Joe Walsh countered in an essay published last week that there is no Republican civil war . What’s more, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also said last Thursday that he would “absolutely” support Trump if he became the GOP presidential nominee in 2024, despite stating on the Senate floor just weeks ago that “Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events” of Jan. 6.