WASHINGTON — In a city accustomed to an ongoing series of protests, particularly since President Donald Trump took office, this one stood out: A 30-foot inflatable chicken placed on the Ellipse near the White House.
With a scowl and a torch of gold hair, it had a striking resemblance to the Executive Mansion’s current occupant.
This “Trump chicken” is the work of Taran Singh Brar, a documentary filmmaker from Orange County, Calif., who told Variety that he strategically placed the chicken so it would be in view of news cameras placed on the White House. The shots are used as backdrops during interview segments.
It worked. On a Fox News segment, Shepard Smith ended a segment with the Associated Press’ Josh Lederman, the White House in the background, about what was beyond the South Lawn in the right hand corner of the screen.
“Shep, it appears to be a very large chicken display,” said Lederman.
Brar, folding up his display before a group of onlookers on the Ellipse, said that his display had been in the works since March, and that he was looking for just the right moment. He said that the chicken was designed by a Seattle artist and was made in China at a cost of $1,500. He said that in total, he has spent about $5,000 on the display.
A Trump chicken has showed up elsewhere, in protests to Trump’s failure to release his tax returns. Brar said that his protest was over what he sees as Trump’s ineffective leadership, including his stance toward Vladimir Putin, and the idea of holding a military parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. In the past few days, Brar said, it also gained another meaning, Trump’s “game of chicken” rhetoric toward North Korea.
Perhaps just as surprising as the display itself was the fact that it was there for so long. Brar said that he got a permit for the display through 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
He said that he was well aware that Trump was not in the White House, but that may have been a good thing. According to his permit, were a helicopter to land on the South Lawn or were Trump to take a stroll in his backyard, he would have had to temporarily deflate it.
Brar was pleased enough with the reaction to the display that he was considering doing again before he had to catch a flight home on Saturday. But he had doubts he could get a permit in time.