Outgoing US president Donald Trump has ordered the construction of 250 statues, following through on a previous pledge to build a ‘Garden of American Heroes’.
In an executive order issued today (January 18), Trump released a list of all 250 of the statues to be constructed, with little indication of the motives behind the selection. They range from historical figures and politicians to sportspeople and light entertainers.
Among the musicians whose statues will be constructed are Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.
Bizarrely, Trump’s list of American Heroes contains a number of non-Americans. Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman, British director Alfred Hitchcock, and Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, a Canadian, are all to have statues in the garden.
“The National Garden will be built to reflect the awesome splendour of our country’s timeless exceptionalism,” Trump said in the order.
“It will be a place where citizens, young and old, can renew their vision of greatness and take up the challenge that I gave to every American in my first address to Congress, to ‘[b]elieve in yourselves, believe in your future, and believe, once more, in America.’”
He also described the garden as “America’s answer” to “reckless” vandalism of statues of American historical figures during widespread protests for racial equality last year.
Trump announced his plans to build The National Garden last summer during his doomed re-election campaign.
After he promised a statue of Frank Sinatra, the singer’s daughter Nancy said her father had “loathed” Trump.