Julian Raven has a message for President Trump: It’s time to go.
The artist, who lives in Elmira, New York, became something of a conservative celebrity after he sued the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery because it declined to display his 16-foot-long, 8-foot-high portrait of President Trump. The portrait was packed with MAGA symbolism, including a border wall and a meteor for Trump’s hair, but as Portrait Gallery director Kim Sajet told Raven, “I know this is hard, and no artist ever wants to hear this, but the painting is no good.”
Washingtonian published an article in August 2019 about Raven’s subsequent attempt to overturn the Smithsonian’s decision in court, which took the form of a self-lawyered lawsuit named Raven v. United States. (The story’s author, former staff writer Ben Wofford, described the painting as resembling an “acid trip that kicked in with the TV flipped to Lou Dobbs.”) The suit was dismissed in September 2018, and Raven lost a subsequent appeal. But his loyalty to the current President was never in question—until the Capitol riot by a pro-Trump crowd last week, which the President incited during a rally where many attendees carried flags festooned with Ravenesque imagery.
Now, Raven has seen enough. In a 1,622-word Facebook post titled “ABSOLUTE DESPOTISM…Dear President Trump..RESIGN!” published Wednesday, Raven says Trump’s words at the rally led to the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. “You organized, promoted, incited and directed those who came to your protest to do your bidding in an attempt to thwart the lawful certification of a lawful election that you and those whom you have persuaded, cannot accept that you lost,” he writes.
The post is punctuated by an upside-down image of his Trump portrait.