Project Trumpmore Interview | Meet the NGO That Wants To Carve Donald Trump's Face into a 50-Metre Ice Wall
"The faces on the real Mount Rushmore are 18m tall, so we definitely want to top that...”
Picture the scene.
You’re at the helm of an almighty ship, sailing deep through the ice sheets and freezing blankness of the Arctic Circle. You’ve seen nothing but the infinite ice and murky waters of the freezing landscape for months, and you can’t quite remember the last time you saw the face of anyone with whom you weren’t sharing quarters.
And then it happens.
You see a new face. Or rather, an old face. A face you haven’t seen in a long time. A giant face. An infamous face. A face that looks a little like a potato that’s been left in the shower for too long. A face you recognise all too well.
The rest of the crew join you on the bow. A shiphand drops his beer, and it smashes. A mechanical technician drops his spanner, or whatever it is that mechanical technicians use, and it bounces unnoticed on the deck. The noise of the spanner is drowned out by a PhD student openly weeping, and being consoled on the shoulder of the hearty expedition chef.
In front of them all, is the gargantuan head of US President Donald Trump, carved out high into a 50-metre, 164-foot wall of ice approaching on the horizon, slowly melting into the Arctic Ocean.
This controversial arctic landmark is not something that exists at this moment in time, but as improbable as it may sound, the ambitious “Project Trumpmore" statue is something that newly-formed Finnish NGO Melting Ice are determined to make happen.
We spoke to Nicolas Preito, Chairman of Melting Ice, and the man who wants to commission a 35 metre (115ft) tall ice sculpture of Donald Trump’s face in the arctic region, to ask the obvious question: why?
“The idea of the project is to talk about climate change in general," he said.
“Our idea is that climate change is such a complex issue that it’s a difficult one to grasp. Our intent is to create a conversation starter through the monument. Every once in a while you come up with good ideas and now we’ve got one. After the US President Mr. Donald Trump’s decision to not sign the Paris Agreement, to pull back from it, and then his willingness to be on Mount Rushmore, for us it was just one plus one and it equalled this.
“We are looking for an ice wall which would be in-land but facing the coast obviously, and that would be around 50 metres high. The minimum we’d be looking at would be 30 metres. On the real Mount Rushmore the faces of the Presidents are 18m tall so we definitely want to top that. We already did a scale model of it which was three metres high in Helsinki which was fun, but we’ve got to think big to make this happen."
Indeed, President Trump has joked about being added to the Mount Rushmore monument several times in the past few years, and is a renowned climate change denier.
Nicolas continued: “We came up with a good idea and we weren’t keen with just letting it go. There are a lot of people who are like-minded to us. So probably if we think this is a good idea a lot of other people will be too."
The idea, as the Project Trumpmore website outlines, is to commission an 115-foot tall ice sculpture of Donald Trump’s face in the arctic region, in order for it to melt, to demonstrate that climate change is happening.
Would this really work as a demonstration of climate change?
“I don’t think that climate change per se is something that we can prove with melting ice," says Nicolas.
“I think it will be a conversation starter and a symbolic gesture. We are in a position and time where climate change is such a complex issue that we need our best minds on it and all of us need to be thinking about what we can do about it.
“The minimum we’d be looking at would be 30 metres. On the real Mount Rushmore the faces of the Presidents are 18m tall so we definitely want to top that..."
“Our hope is that we will talk about climate change in a much broader way once we get the project started. Even though we are talking about the Paris Agreement, that as well is not an agreement without its holes. We need to do more in so many ways."
For a project as ambitious as this though, the logistics are always going to be the main challenge. Project Trumpmore admit they will need to raise around €400,000 (£350,500) to complete the project as they have it set out in their minds.
“That would be with all bells and whistles," says Nicolas. “We are now doing calculations on what’s the lowest we can do it with and where else we could get money.
“We are talking about crowdfunding. In Finland for a new NGO to do a crowdfunding campaign is not so clear cut. You need a permit from the police and that takes a long time. We are now trying to partner up with some NGOs in countries where we could do a crowdfunding proposition.
“We have a very detailed plan on how to do it and what kind of things to incorporate. We have an ice sculptor who would be the head engineer or head of construction. He’s done big ice projects before. And then we have to talk about where it’s going to be. There are four possible spots but one, which is our main goal, would be the arctic ice cap in Greenland. It can’t be an iceberg because that’s too unstable.
“We have ideas already of the talking points we want to bring up, not only with the sculpture, but also with a documentary project we are talking about and a hunk of the money could come from the documentary, from a TV channel. We want not only to build the ice sculpture but to do this as a whole project that actually initiates conversation."
I suggest that given his ego, and his attitude towards climate change, there is a strong chance that Donald Trump would love Nicolas’ project. He laughs.
“Yeah, that would be hilarious. I actually directed my first tweet about it to Mr. President. I haven’t got a reply yet, so maybe soon. I’m not sure.
“I posted a video and asked him ‘hey, we have this project and you’re not that keen on climate change, so maybe you’d like to partner up?’ but still no reply. Fingers crossed. Let’s hope for the best. I understand he has a lot of lawyers with money lying around in different bags or different cheque accounts - so maybe he has some money he can lend us!"
Whether the project happens or not remains to be seen, but given that the aim of Project Trumpmore is ultimately to act as a conversation starter, it’s fair to say Nicolas and his team have already seen some success.
After all, they’ve certainly got people talking.