Video of the statue being removed was shared by reporters online on Thursday morning, showing it had been charred but not completely destroyed.
The statue was reportedly removed on Sunday and was being held in storage.
Local authorities told CNN that they were investigating the vandalization as a criminal matter, saying it was "damage to property, which is a criminal offense."
Downey added to Reuters that he asked locals to not share photos of the burnt statue in order to avoid it becoming a "violent meme."
Some accounts posting the images of the statue online mockingly quoted the first lady, writing: "I DON'T REALLY CARE DO U?"
Mrs. Trump infamously wore a jacket with that phrase in 2018 while visiting detention centers along the U.S.-Mexico border, where migrant children were being held. She later argued it was a reference to the "left-wing media."
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