A billboard in Phoenix that depicted President Trump as a Nazi was posted to create controversy, a local paper reported, and it did, with reports of death threats against the artist, Karen Fiorito.
Now, Judicial Watch, the non-profit watchdog on government, reveals the billboard was paid for, at least in part, by taxpayers.
The billboard is just one of many ways in which critics of the president have likened him to the German dictator.
It shows Trump with clouds of nuclear explosions in the background flanked by dollar signs that look like swastikas.
Judicial Watch said that shortly after the billboard was erected it filed a public records request with the city of Phoenix to obtain details related to public monies connected to organizations and organizers of the sign.
Documents arrived this week showing the city of Phoenix awarded Beatrice Moore, the Trump Nazi billboard owner and a prominent figure in the local art community, thousands of dollars in grants for a program she runs called Grand Avenue Arts & Preservation (GAP).
GAP is tied to an event called Art Detour, where the Nazi billboard made its debut.”
Judicial Watch said the publicly funded annual art celebration is touted as having “a diverse slate of activities created by local artists and art venues to celebrate the growing, vibrant Phoenix arts scene.”
It’s described by Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton as “one of the most important events in Phoenix’s calendar.”
The event is produced by a group called Artlink, which was founded by Moore, in partnership with the city of Phoenix. Judicial Watch said former Phoenix Deputy City Manager Rick Naimark, “who retired in 2015 with a hefty pension,” sits on the board of Artlink.
The Washington watchdog organization said the records it obtained show Moore and her various publicly funded art enterprises received $3,500 from the city of Phoenix in July 2016, which encompasses the March 2017 Art Detour event that kicked off with the Trump Nazi billboard.
In August 2016, Artlink, founded by Moore, was awarded $1,800 for the 2017 Art Detour event, according to the records.
“Moore, who contracted Fiorito to create the anti-Trump billboard, is recognized by the city as an ‘artist, community organizer and arts advocate’ and the annual festival she puts together with public money aims to ‘diminish barriers,’ the records say. Funds come from ‘government grant monies,’ including the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the money is used for ‘artists’ fees,'” Judicial Watch said.
“The objectionable Trump billboard, which involves taxpayer money, doesn’t appear to promote a ‘growing, vibrant’ art scene in the City of Phoenix and seems to fall short of Moore’s stated goal of ‘diminishing barriers’ through art.”
The billboard, at Grand Avenue and Taylor Street in Phoenix, will stay there throughout Trump’s presidency, the owners claim.
Judicial Watch said media reports have focused on Fiorito’s anti-Trump sentiments, including calling Trump supporters “scumbags.”
WND has reported on the other portrayals of Trump as Hitler or as a Nazi.
Some critics even have claimed that his move to replace Obamacare will cause the deaths of tens of thousands.
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act will kill more than 43,000 people annually,” claimed a headline in the Washington Post.
Writers David Himmelstein and Steffie Woodhandler, both activist professors in the public-health department at a New York school, said the “impact of Republicans’ war on Obamacare is likely to be worse than anyone expects.”
Talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh noted how far the left has been pushing its criticism of Trump.
“New York liberals say, it’s not enough to just say that Obamacare repeal will kill people. ‘We must be far more visceral,’ said Jason Haber, a Manhattan real estate investor who started a super PAC that he said will host mock funerals – including ‘tombstones, coffins, even eulogies’ – later this month for ‘the constituents that will be killed as a result of losing access to health care.’ Haber, who has worked in New York Democratic politics, said, ‘In the age of Trump, nothing short of blunt and brute force will work as a counterweight,’ adding, ‘We can’t win based on the merit of our ideas.'”
Limbaugh explained what Haber meant.
“So what he’s saying is (translated), ‘Our insanity is not enough. We’re gonna have to demonstrate our insanity! We’re gonna have to illustrate how nutso we are. We’re gonna do mock funerals with coffins, eulogies, tombstones for people who will die because of what’s happening to Obamacare.'”
Limbaugh also noted liberals who have chimed in, such as Cory Booker (“This will cost American lives if it ever becomes law!”), Sheila Jackson Lee (“the Trumpcare’s Mother of All Bombs of health care dropped on the American people!”), Nancy Pelosi (“This is deadly. This is deadly.”), Terry McAuliffe (“People are going to die if this bill that got passed … ever became law.”), Bernie Sanders (“Thousands of people would die.”) and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (“There’s no question that people will not only lose their health care, but many will lose their lives.”).
Other examples of the left’s “Hitler” charge against Trump have included calling his inaugural address “Hitlerian.”
At that time, WND Managing Editor David Kupelian documented that multiple Washington Post writers had adopted the description and had been using it for weeks.
MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow likened Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan to something from the 1930s America, when, she said, there was “an America First Committee” that tried to keep the nation out of World War II and was “infiltrated by the Nazis … which is part of why they weren’t alarmed by Hitler’s rise in Germany.”
Maddow complained that the America First Committee “is something that means a specific thing in this country.”
“To repurpose it now, not that far down the historical path, it’s hard. It’s hard to hear,” she said.
WND’s David Kupelian noted at least five writers from the Washington Post already have evoked Hitler.
It started last February when Post columnist Danielle Allen threw down the gauntlet with a widely cited article dramatically headlined “The moment of truth: We must stop Trump.”
Naturally, she went directly to the Hitler comparison.
“Like any number of us raised in the late 20th century,” Allen wrote. “I have spent my life perplexed about exactly how Hitler could have come to power in Germany. Watching Donald Trump’s rise, I now understand. Leave aside whether a direct comparison of Trump to Hitler is accurate. That is not my point. My point rather is about how a demagogic opportunist can exploit a divided country.”
Then followed a June 14 headline, “Donald Trump’s new favorite slogan was invented for Nazi sympathizers.”
The writer snarked: “He wasn’t quite promising ‘America über alles,’ but it comes close. ‘America First’ was the motto of Nazi-friendly Americans in the 1930s, and Trump has more than just a catchphrase in common with them.”
A few weeks later, the Post published a piece by Peter Ross Range, a longtime mainstream newsmagazine writer, titled “The theory of political leadership that Donald Trump shares with Adolf Hitler.”
The report continued: “Then there was author and essayist Shalom Auslander, whose Sept. 13 Washington Post column was headlined: “Don’t compare Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler. It belittles Hitler.” His subtitle: “One was a psychopath who believed his raving rants. The other is a con man.”
And a week later, on Sept. 19, the Post published a controversial article by Richard Cohen, a weekly political columnist who has been with the paper since 1968. It bore the chilling headline “Trump’s Hitlerian disregard for the truth.”
The Washington Examiner reported after Christmas that it had found several additional references to Trump as Hitler, including in a New York Times book review by Michiko Kakutani and a comment by CNN’s Dana Bash after a presidential-campaign debate.