By Agence France-Presse
Donald Trump’s star has dimmed in Hollywood after a suspect with a pickax early Wednesday vandalized his plaque on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
It’s the second time vandals have damaged Trump’s star at the tourist site.
ABC7 television cited witnesses as saying a man removed the pickax from a guitar case and began swinging it at the brass-rimmed star — one of more than 2,500 embedded in Hollywood’s sidewalks in honor of famous entertainment figures.
Before he was elected president in the November 2016 election, Trump starred as himself in “The Apprentice” TV reality series.
Los Angeles police confirmed that they were called about 3:30 am for a report of vandalism at the star’s location on Hollywood Boulevard.
After bashing the plaque, the suspect called police “and advised he had vandalized Donald Trump’s star,” the Los Angeles Times quoted police Lieutenant Karen Leong as saying.
The entire center of the star was hacked out, leaving only pebbles and dirt where Trump’s name had been written large above a small image of a television.
The police confirmed to AFP that the suspect, Austin Mikel Clay, 24, turned himself in and was booked on a charge of felony vandalism.
Trump’s star was targeted once before, in October 2016, when a man dressed as a construction worker defaced it with a sledgehammer and pickax, in what was reportedly a protest at Trump’s treatment of women.
In February 2017, the month after Trump’s inauguration, the man named James Otis pleaded no contest to felony vandalism.
He was sentenced to three years’ probation and agreed to pay $4,400 for the damage.
Tensions have risen in US society over Trump’s unorthodox and divisive presidency, though the motive in Wednesday’s attack was not immediately clear.
“The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees,” said Leron Gubler, president, and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the Walk of Fame.
“When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways,” he said. “Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.”
The Hollywood Historic Trust will repair the star.