LA Leaders Condemn Trump
The Leaders Condemn Trump “In Los Angeles, political leaders haven’t held back their criticisms of Donald Trump. They’ve branded the former president as a madman, a fascist, and described him as a “clear and present danger to the stability of the country”. Yet, when it comes to the symbolic gesture of removing Trump’s most prominent feature from the star-studded Hollywood Walk of Fame, they stumble, allowing their statements to fade into the background.
All indications suggest that the city’s leadership would prefer Trump’s star to disappear, ideally before the upcoming presidential election. Insiders, those whispered voices in the halls of power, confirm this in confidential discussions and off-the-record briefings.
However, discussing the matter openly proves to be a challenging task, a reflection of the tumultuous currents of LA’s political landscape. When they do summon the courage to address it, it’s often to justify their inaction.
“I would readily vote to remove any city-owned display of support for Mr. Trump,” declared city council member Bob Blumenfield in a message to an activist in March 2022, responding to a long-standing campaign against the Trump star. “However, I am currently focused on too many other critical issues.”
When questioned about the star this summer, California state assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur, whose district covers the Walk of Fame, cryptically advised a gathering of Democratic party activists to “stay tuned”.
When asked for clarification, Zbur’s office initially cited his unavailability, then argued that his responsibility pertained to state-level policy, deferring to local leaders on local matters.
Other elected officials adopt a similar dance around the desires of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, stewards of the Walk of Fame for over sixty years. They highlight the bureaucratic complexity involved in removing a star, a task never before undertaken, regardless of the star’s controversial nature.
Their hesitance seems puzzling in a city where Trump barely secured a quarter of the vote in the 2020 presidential race. Prior to his foray into politics, he was more a target of jokes and gossip than a revered entertainer.
“They’re immobilized by the weight of this decision,” lamented a prominent figure in the Hollywood business community, one of many who preferred to remain anonymous, fearing repercussions on such a contentious topic.
This paralysis bewilders activists like Andrew Rudick, a resolute advocate who regularly challenges public officials about the Trump star at ceremonies honoring new Walk of Fame inductees.
“It simply can’t be this convoluted,” Rudick insisted. “This man attempted to undermine the United States, and yet we persist in honoring him… How can we, the voters, have confidence in the city council to address any significant challenge if they can’t handle this?”
Trump’s star, earned through hosting multiple seasons of the reality TV show The Apprentice, has weathered repeated defacement and destruction over the past eight years, dating back to his initial presidential bid. However, each time, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stands firm, resisting calls to either erase it or leave the scars untended.
The star has transformed into a canvas for street artists, shaping the marble and terrazzo plaque into a miniature prison or adorning it with bathroom fixtures – a commentary on the classified documents found in a restroom at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
For Rudick, the star should have disappeared as early as 2015, when NBC terminated Trump from The Apprentice for his derogatory comments about Mexicans. The events of January 6, 2021, during the Capitol insurrection, seemed to solidify the case, especially since the LA city council unanimously called for Trump’s removal from office, denouncing his role in an “insurrectionary, racist, and violent” attack.
Yet, the star endures.
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce remains steadfast in its stance: once a star is embedded on the Walk of Fame, it remains there for eternity. This decree was established by the Chamber’s chief executive in 2015, even as numerous women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against Bill Cosby, casting a shadow on his star. Cosby was later convicted of sexual assault in Pennsylvania in 2018, a verdict subsequently overturned on appeal.
Last week, the Chamber affirmed its position remained unaltered. A legal source close to the Chamber acknowledged that rectifying the damage to the star, caused by pickaxes, sledgehammers, and a deluge of spray paint, incurred a substantial cost, but not one that would break the bank.
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