HOLLYWOOD—“Sweet Dreams,” John Bucchino’s poignant song about an abused woman and a kept man who strike up an unlikely friendship at a bus station, is a rueful meditation on the broken hopes that bring people to Los Angeles, and it ends on a note of deliberate irresolution: “There is a sidewalk in California, where they put the stars right at your feet, and people delight in stepping on them.”
In the case of Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, some people delight in smashing it to smithereens, and in the wee hours of Wednesday, the police say, a 24-year-old man named Austin Clay did just that, unsheathing a pickax from a guitar case at about 3:30 a.m. and leaving little but rubble where the monument to the host of The Apprentice had been just moments before. It was the second time since 2016 that Trump’s star had been effectively destroyed, and the umpteenth that it had been spat upon, defaced with graffiti, spray-painted with a swastika, or decorated with dog feces.
But by midday, four technicians from Top End Terrazzo—clad in bright-yellow construction vests and surrounded by multiple television satellite trucks, a brace of police officers, and a knot of swarming, selfie-taking tourists worthy of Nathanael West—had done what John Kelly, Kellyanne Conway, Dan Coats, Jim Mattis, and Jeff Sessions have been unable to do: They had put Trump back together again, lining up a fresh rack of gold brass letters inside the silhouette of a brass star, tamping down sand with a steel two-by-four, and pouring in the pink-and-white terrazzo-stone powder that would be fused together and waxed to a sheen, good as new, ready for the next attack. The president was on his way to being sandwiched safely on the sidewalk between stars commemorating Kevin Spacey and Y. Frank Freeman, the onetime Paramount Pictures executive who was reportedly known at the studio as “God.”