After buying Trump’s campaign bus off of Craigslist, 2 artists turned it into a mobile mockery of the man

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Mary Mihelic

In the midst of the Republican National Convention, an out-of-the-ordinary Donald Trump campaign bus will roll into Cleveland.

Rather than support the presidential candidate, this bus mocks him and his personal brand. It is decked out in slogans like “Make Fruit Punch Great Again” and “Hasta la vista, Donny” and acts as a mobile art installation driven by its creators, performance art duo Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson.

Mihelic and Gleeson, who refer to themselves as t.Rutt, have been traveling across the US in the bus, which they purchased off of Craigslist in late September.

“This whole endeavor is about being in the middle of the confusion and extreme emotional environment that Trump keeps stoking, to his apparently continued advantage,” Gleeson told Business Insider.

Here’s the inside story of how Mihelic and Gleeson purchased the bus and a look into their cross-country adventures.


When Mihelic was watching “The Rachel Maddow Show,” she heard a Trump campaign bus was being sold on Craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa. She immediately dialed her friend David Gleeson, who flew to Iowa and met the sellers. 36 hours and $14,000 later, Mihelic and Gleeson had their very own Donald Trump-style transportation.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

Gleeson and Mihelic purchased the bus from a group of guys who used the vehicle for bachelor parties. So when the artists obtained the bus, it came equipped with a stripper pole and reinforced tables for women to dance on.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

The bus exterior is now plastered with slogans that, upon first glance, seem pro-Trump. But with a closer look, you’ll notice the bus is actually mocking Trump, with slogans like “Women Trump Trump,” “Make Fruit Punch Great Again,” and “T.Rump,” a play on the presidential candidate’s last name. The back of the bus also says “Make America Great Again” in Arabic.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

Passersby can also see and use the Manhood Measuring Station.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

Mihelic does a performance piece called “Desecration” from inside the bus in which she embroiders American flags with Trump quotes. “It’s a wonderful comment on whether what he says fits with American ideals,” Gleeson says.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

Gleeson performs “Open Carry: The Right to Bear Art,” in which he carries a 6-foot-long paintbrush with a scope attached. “We use it as a way to indicate the importance of art taking aim and focus in these moments of great social and political turmoil,” Gleeson told Business Insider.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

Gleeson also hits golf balls off of the bus’ roof. Each ball has a picture of Trump’s face on it.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

“A guy just gave us the finger through his sunroof driving up I-40,” Gleeson said during a phone call with Business Insider. “Happens all the time.”

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

Mihelic and Gleeson are used to their bus getting vandalized. After having eggs and milk cartons thrown at the bus, and then the exterior being painted with graffiti, the artists created detachable banners to camouflage and protect the vehicle at night. “They reference three of the candidates that Trump beat. We have Jeb Bush on one banner, Ben Carson on another, and Ted Cruz on the third, with these fake brands of fruit punch we developed,” Gleeson says.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

Inside, the bus is filled with Trump-related décor, like an installation called “Three Wives of Donald Trump.”

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

A shrine is assembled on the bus dashboard that alludes to the tension between Trump and the pope.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

And you can’t forget about the bathroom walls — they are wallpapered with Trump University certificates.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

“I really loved our experience in California, down on the Mexican border, where we built the first segment of Donald Trump’s wall,” Mihelic says. A Trump supporter and former nudist colony member let the artists assemble the piece on his California property.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson

With the bus, Gleeson and Mihelic have traveled from coast to coast, spreading their artistic and political message. “We’re putting people in front of and having them confront that Trump-induced extreme emotional response, whatever side they initially come from themselves,” Gleeson says.

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Mary Mihelic and David Gleeson