Hasta La Vista Donny!
Pulling into the Chris Christie event in Newton, I was shocked to see the Trump bus in the parking lot. Was Donald Trump crashing Christie’s event? Walking up to the bus it was clear that Trump was not there. The original “Trump” was painted over and new words were painted on either side. One was “T.RUMP” the other “t.RUTT.” David Gleeson was one of the three people working around the bus. He explained that an artist out of Philadelphia had bought the bus off Craigslist in Des Moines.
T.Rutt is anonymous and wants their work to speak for him or her. Gleeson is the project manager of the most recent creation the former Trump bus. Hasta La Vista Donny! is the name of the project. Gleeson explained that the project was meant to challenge Trump’s divisive rhetoric. He described Trump as sexist and a bully. He thinks t.Rutt was inspired to start this project by Trump’s comments to Megyn Kelley during and after the first Republican debate, specifically the those about “blood coming out of her.”
Though this project is focused on Trump specifically, it is also meant to comment on the divisiveness of politics in general. Men attacking other men and men attacking women is hurting the country, according to the artist. T.Rutt’s website describes the project as a “creative exploration of the political divisions that face and frustrate the American people as they prepare to endure another presidential election cycle.”
The entire bus has been turned into an interactive art exhibit. The team working with Gleeson set up a table of fruit punch and encourage everyone to throw the fruit punch at either the “T.RUMP” or “t.RUTT” banners on either side of the bus. Gleeson says this component is a metaphor of the “silliness of blood coming out of her eyes.” He says that throwing the fruit punch is a physical way to release the tension that this presidential season has created. The project is employing two hashtags: #MakeFruitPunchGreatAgain and #WomenTrumpTrump. According to Gleeson, both are making fun of Trump to bring some silliness into the campaign.
The bus stopped at the Christie event at t.Rutt’s instruction. Gleeson said the event was at a convenient time and featured a decent candidate. Gleeson describe Christie at the “unifier” during the second debate. He believes that Christie represents a large section of the Republican Party that is unhappy with the direction the party is going. As the governor of a liberal state, Christie has established himself as a moderate.
Gleeson also said that t.Rutt was excited by the opportunity of engaging Iowa voters in the project. Being first in the national gives Iowa voters a front-row seat to the divisive rhetoric of all the candidates including Trump. Gleeson joked that if anyone needs to throw some fruit punch to release tension, it’s Iowans.
Overall Gleeson said t.Rutt wants people to come to their own conclusions about what the exhibit means. The bus is currently traveling across five states on its way back to Philadelphia. Its next stop: Art Basel Week in Miami.
Barbour is a junior political science and international relations double major at Drake. She spent last semester abroad in Amman, Jordan, studying Arabic and Middle Eastern politics. Follow her on Twitter.