Looming over the city of Phoenix, Arizona, is a Nazi-themed Donald Trump billboard, and it's making just about everybody really mad. It was unveiled on Friday by a California-based artist; it depicts the 45th president with mushroom clouds behind him and swastikas made of dollar signs to his left and right. In theory, its meaning is up to interpretation, but really, the message seems pretty clear: The artist is depicting Trump as a Nazi who will cause World War III. Unsurprisingly, the billboard is sparking loads of controversy in the city and elsewhere.
The project is the brainchild of Karen Fiorito, a Los Angeles artist whose friend owns the billboard space and, according to AZFamily.com, rented it to her free of charge. Fiorito says she plans to keep it up for at least a year, and perhaps for the entirety of Trump's presidency. On the other side of the billboard is what you might call an alternative vision for the future of mankind: A picture of five hands, all different colors, spelling out "UNITY" in sign language in front of the Arizona flag.
"I think a lot of people are feeling this way and I'm just trying to express what I think is on a lot of people's minds these days," Fiorito said in an interview with Phoenix's local 12 news, the Huffington Post reported. "Something that really concerned us was this idea of a dictatorship where things were going in a certain direction.”
It's no shock that the billboard quickly became about as divisive as Trump himself. Those who support it argue that it effectively highlights some of the most concerning things about Trump's presidency: his repeated refusal to denounce white supremacy and anti-Semitism with immediacy, and his nonchalant attitude toward nuclear war.
"I love those billboards," passerby Astrid Olafson told AZCentral. "I think it's a wonderful expression of the two sides of opinions as to what is going on and how we can move forward."
The counterargument is that locals shouldn't be forced to stare at an enormous sign that, at first glance, looks like something straight out of Nazi Germany.
"My house is right next door to the sign," neighbor Jeff Whitman told AZCentral. "I wake up, I make coffee, and I look out my kitchen window, and I see Nazis. And you know, it's not cool to me." Whitman suggested a thumbs-down symbol instead of a faux-swastika.
Although the billboard is anything but subtle, Fiorito gave it some small touches: On it, Trump is wearing a Russian flag pin, and the mushroom clouds are actually in the shape of laughing clowns.
Whether or not it's there to stay remains to be seen, but for now, it'll continue to cause controversy.