ORLANDO, Florida — The artist who created a 6-foot golden sculpture of former President Donald Trump — an immensely popular attraction at the Conservative Political Action Conference — bristled when liberal news media and other Trump foes compared it to the “golden calf” in the Bible.
The critics made the case that conservatives are, as in the story of the golden calf in Exodus, worshipping the false idol of Trumpism and turning away from the teachings of traditional Republican values.
But the critics are missed the point, said the sculptor, Tommy Zegan.
“This is not an idol,” said Mr. Zegan, the son of missionaries and a former youth pastor and graduate of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago who now works as an artist with a studio in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.
“Nobody is worshipping this. Nobody is making sacrifices to it. This is a sculpture and liberals don’t know the difference between a sculpture and an idol,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”
The comparisons to the golden calf were popular with liberal-leaning news outlets including Vox and The New York Times. NeverTrump Republicans also joined in.
Neoconservative commentator and outspoken Trump critic Bill Kristol made the comparison but then took it back in a tweet:
“I retract my earlier comparison of this to the golden calf as unfair to the ancient Israelites. For one thing, their calf was real gold, and for another a calf is (I think—not that I have much personal experience with them) a pleasant and peaceful animal,” he tweeted.
The gold-colored “Trump and His Magic Wand” is the sculpture mold, according to its creator. The original cast of the sculpture is stainless steel.
“That one is in a warehouse tucked away. It is white glove. We don’t touch it,” said Mr. Zegan. “Hopefully, one day that one will end up in the Trump library.”
He said he created the sculpture because he was dissatisfied with the other sculptures of the former president.
“There was the naked Trump, the Baby Trump, him sitting on a toilet. I’m thinking, ‘Really, art community, is this the best you can offer our president?’” he said.
He came up with a representation of Mr. Trump that he described as more respectful but also comical: an image of Mr. Trump reimagined as the Barney Rubble character from “The Flintstones” cartoon.
The sculpture stands 6-foot, 3-inches tall and is clothed in symbolism.
In his left hand, he holds a magic wand, which is a reference to former President Barack Obama’s quip that Mr. Trump would need a magic wand to keep his promise to bring back American manufacturing jobs.
Mr. Zegan said the sculpture’s suit and tie designate him as a businessman, the red tie represents the Republican Party, the red, white and blue shorts represent patriotism and the flip-flops on his feet symbolize that Mr. Trump could be enjoying retirement.
Mr. Zegan said he would entertain offers to buy “Trump and His Magic Wand.” The asking price, he said, was $100,000.
Mr. Zegan previously created “The Gunslinger,” a life-size bronze statue of legendary NFL quarterback Brett Favre. The statue is permanently on display at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum in Jackson, Mississippi.