The now-famous "Baby Trump" protest balloon will be a presence on the National Mall for the Fourth of July, but won't be allowed to float to a height where President Donald Trump might see it, the anti-war CODEPINK activist group said Tuesday.
The 18-foot balloon, depicting a bloated Trump in diapers holding a cellphone, can't rise more than two feet off the ground and can't be filled with helium by order of the Federal Aviation Administration, said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK.
She said she has a leaf-blower that can fill Baby Trump with hot air in a symbolic counter to Trump's planned speech from the Lincoln Memorial, but added that the balloon will have to be tethered to rise no more than two feet off the ground.
"We'll have no problem inflating 'Baby' with hot air," Benjamin said. "It'll be blown up and it'll be a great visual."
The group was, however, denied a demonstration site on the Washington Monument grounds with direct sight lines to the Lincoln Memorial.
Instead, CODEPINK has a permit for a site on the Mall at 17th St. NW off Constitution Ave, she said, where small replicas of the Baby Trump balloon will be handed out and speakers will appear through the day on anti-war themes.
CODEPINK had sought a waiver from the two-foot limit, "but we feel this bureaucratic process is designed to force us to just keep the baby on the ground, instead of floating it in the air," Tighe Barry, the group's logistics manager, said in a statement.
"It's ridiculous that we have to contact the FAA to hoist a balloon two feet off the ground," Barry added.
The "Baby Trump" balloon first appeared at an anti-Trump rally in London, and the caricature has become a fixture at demonstrations in Europe. Benjamin said CODEPINK borrowed their Baby Trump balloon from a group in New Jersey.
In addition to the "Baby Trump" protest, the liberal VoteVets veterans group has teamed up with the non-profit Rags Of Honor homeless veterans support group on another effort on the Mall designed to rile Trump.
The groups will be distributing thousands of T-shirts emblazoned with the image of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain, named for the Trump antagonist and late Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, and his father and grandfather, who were both admirals.
Peter Kauffmann, vice chair of VoteVets, said that the T-shirts paid tribute to multiple generations of sacrifice by the McCain family.
He said the group felt wearing the shirts was a more appropriate way to honor July 4 than participating in what he called a "political rally" for Trump.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.