A multimedia artist caused a commotion in Washington, D.C., late Monday when he projected a series of images on Trump International Hotel that skewered the president over accusations about his business ties with foreign governments.
Robin Bell, a Washington-based artist known for his political projections, said the work was meant to highlight benefits Donald Trump continues to reap since his ascension to the presidency, including revenue generated at his D.C. hotel. The artwork, which went up around 10 p.m. local time, quickly spread on Twitter before it was shut down by hotel security.
“It seems like a very clear case of his impropriety,” Bell said. “It’s a great visualization of a clear-cut example of the laws that he’s breaking.”
Staff reached at Trump International Hotel declined to comment about the messages.
Legal experts have said they aren’t certain if Trump has actually violated the so-called Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits those holding office from accepting gifts from foreign governments. However, a watchdog group filed a federal lawsuit earlier this year accusing Trump of doing just that through his vast empire of property holdings, which he still owns while they’re being managed by his two adult sons.
The president’s lawyers have contended that paying for a hotel room is not a gift.
Monday’s artwork cycled through three projections: One read, “Pay Trump bribes here”; another, “Emoluments welcome” on top of the flags of Russia, Turkey, China and Saudi Arabia; and a third showed the Emoluments Clause in its entirety.
Bell’s work has targeted others in the Trump administration in recent months, including a projection on the EPA headquarters aimed at noted climate change denier Myron Ebell. Another, crasser message simply read, “Experts agree: Trump is a pig.”
Bell said his work is a simple act of resistance in the nation’s capital, where, he noted, it’s “sad to see the old post office being used” as a Trump business. The hotel has become the go-to destination for foreign diplomats.
“Maybe in the history books it’ll show that we were not for this,” he said.
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