Unhinged: Texas wax museum puts statue of Trump in storage after it is repeatedly punched, defaced

Curators at the Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks in San Antonio have retired a wax statue of former President Donald Trump because a few visitors continued to pummel and deface it.

According to Clay Stewart, the regional manager for Ripley Entertainment, owner of the museum, said the Trump figure was punched and scratched severely enough that management felt compelled to put the statue in storage for the time being, the San Antonio Express-News reported Wednesday.

“When it’s a highly political figure, attacks can be a problem,” said Stewart, who noted that scratches to the Trump figure were extensive and deep.

Museum officials could not say when Trump is going to be repaired and put back on display, but Stewart said that isn’t likely to happen until after a wax figure of President Joe Biden — which is currently under construction at Ripley Entertainment’s Orlando, Fla., headquarters — is received.

“Wax figures are rotated all the time,” Stewart told the paper.

Since museums only have limited space for displays, curators and directors are constantly making changes based on a number of factors including the enduring popularity of a political leader, entertainer, or sports figure. 

As for Trump, he is now sharing storage space with about 30 other wax figures including 1930s-era comedian and TV star W.C. Fields and George Washington, the paper reported.

But in the case of the 45th president, curators removed him because of damage, not because he lacks in support or notoriety.

“Our wax figures will need repairing from time to time,” Suzanne Smagala-Potts, Ripley Entertainment’s public relations director, told the Express-News.

As for the attacks on the Trump figure, Stewart said they ramped up as the 2020 campaign season hit full throttle last summer. 

When they did, museum officials moved the figure to the lobby so that ticket-takers and other employees could keep a closer eye on it. But even that did not stop visitors from throwing punches. As such, Taussaud’s staffers moved the Trump figure into storage without fanfare last July, employees confirmed to the paper last week.

And while President Trump may be seen as polarizing to many, his is not the first wax figure at the museum to draw the wrong kind of attention.

“We’ve always had trouble with the presidential section because no matter what president it was — Bush, Obama or Trump — they’ve all had people beat them,” Stewart said in reference to George W. Bush, not George H. W. Bush. “The ears were torn off Obama six times. And then Bush’s nose was punched in.

“People are just aggressive about their political party,” he added.

He said that Obama’s wax figure was shipped repeatedly to Orlando to be repaired. However, the Trump figure has been stashed in the museum’s storage room because COVID-19 restrictions have left a shortage of wax artists at the Ripley’s HQ.

That said, abuse directed at Obama’s figure has largely subsided since he’s no longer in the White House Stewart said.

“He has not been beaten as much since he left office,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Trump wax figure at a museum at Louis Tussaud’s Palace of Wax in Grand Prairie has not been molested at all since it was put on display in 2017, according to Vera Davis, the wax museum’s manager/supervisor.

“He’s a big photo op here,” she told the paper.

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Jon Dougherty

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