Elizabeth Rowin was inspired to create the online petition because of a tweet she saw that said it would be “hilarious to rename Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower after Barack Obama.”
In recent days, the petition jumped from 70,000 signatures to over 312,000.
“I know that Trump really loathes Obama because of that 2011 Correspondents’ Dinner when Obama roasted him so well and it was so great,” Rowin said. “I love that video. Trump’s just sitting there seething and everybody’s laughing at him. And so now there are no correspondent dinners because he’s so sensitive. He’s such a snowflake.”
When asked if this might be considered trolling, Rowin wholeheartedly agreed that it was.
“It’s trolling the Troll King,” she said. “It’s bullying, it’s petty, I acknowledge all that. I know it’s silly, but that’s why I kind of have thought about it, that it does have potential to do two things, which is to give people a sense of community and a laugh in these troubled times and also to possibly slow Trump down from inflicting more horrible government on us.”
New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson’s office told Reuters in an emailed quote that the councilman was not in favor of renaming the street.
“As much as I love the idea of celebrating President Obama, I am not positive this is the best way. The Obamas epitomize class, dedication to public service and respect for the Oval Office. I’m pretty confident we can find a better way to honor the greatest president of my lifetime than by trolling the worst president of my lifetime,” the statement said.
“I understand because Obama is very classy and why honor him with something so petty,” Rowin said in response. “But you know, we have to have fun, honestly, and I think Obama has a great sense of humor and as much as he would say, ‘Don’t do it.’ I think he would also say, ‘It’s hilarious.'”
The council generally only names streets after people who have been dead at least two years.
Rowin, who is a Los Angeles resident, said the two-year rule is a “meaningless rule.”
“In Los Angeles, they’ve renamed two streets after Obama and there’s just no reason that they couldn’t do that here,” she said. “I understand they could make an exception. It’s an arbitrary rule. It’s a meaningless rule. Why not?”
In the off chance the street gets renamed, Trump Tower’s new address would be 725 President Barack H. Obama Avenue.
(Production: Hussein Al Waaile / Roselle Chen)