NEW YORK (Reuters) - The blimp portraying Donald Trump as a snarling baby that flew over London last week during the U.S. president’s European tour could soon be in New Jersey’s skies after activists said they had raised enough money to bring it to the United States.
Anti-Trump activists by mid-day Monday had raised more than $8,000 on GoFundMe.com, more than the $4,500 they said they had needed to get the diaper-wearing helium balloon to Bedminster, New Jersey, home of the Trump National Golf Club that the president regularly visits.
Organizer Didier Jiminez-Castro said he hoped the balloon would spur enthusiasm for Democratic candidates in November’s congressional elections.
“Baby Trump will give that punch, that energy that we need for the midterms - it’s going to get people out of the house,” Jiminez-Castro said in a phone interview.
He told New Jersey media he expects the blimp to be in Bedminster, a suburb about 35 miles (56 km) west of New York City, by mid-August.
He urged donors to share extra funds with @babytrumptour, which got requests for a blimp visit from more than 300 U.S. cities, including St. Louis and Austin, Texas.
On the GoFundMe page, Jiminez-Castro said he sought to bring the blimp to the United States because “he mention(ed) he does not feel welcome with the Baby Trump in display and we need to get under his skin as much as we can.”
During his first official visit to the United Kingdom, Trump said he avoided London due to the blimp and the tens of thousands of protesters that took to the streets to decry his policies.
“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London,” the Sun newspaper quoted Trump as saying.
Trump on Monday met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, capping a European visit in which he criticized NATO allies’ military spending and embarrassed British Prime Minister Theresa May by saying she refused to take his advice about Britain’s exit from the European Union.
It’s unclear whether Trump will actually see the blimp since the Federal Aviation Administration places flight restrictions on airspace over Bedminster whenever the president visits.
An FAA spokesman referred questions to the U.S. Secret Service. Secret Service officials did not respond to a request seeking comment.
Bedminster Township Administrator Judy Sullivan said there are no local permits required to fly a blimp.
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg, additional reporting by Makini Brice in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Susan Thomas