Trump Returns to New York for ‘Coronation’ Marked by Protests

  • First visit as president to city where he won wealth and fame
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 residents of his hometown voted for him

A New York City police officer patrols across the street from Trump Tower on May 4, 2017, in New York City.

Donald Trump returns Thursday with all the fanfare of the presidency to the city that made him rich and famous yet has shunned him as a political leader.

Trump, a son of outer-borough Queens who literally put his name on the Manhattan skyline, arrives in New York for the first time as president for a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. It is a moment he is sure to relish.

“Donald thinks he owns New York, he loves the place so much,” Chris Ruddy, chief executive officer of Newsmax and a long-time friend of Trump’s, said in an interview. “This is almost like a coronation.”

New York hasn’t returned the love. He received less than one-fifth of the city’s vote and several protests are planned for his visit.

Trump, who came back to New York most nights as a candidate and ran his campaign and transition from Trump Tower in Manhattan, has stayed away since he was sworn in on Jan. 20, even as his wife and youngest child continue to live there. He told Fox News in an interview last month that he has avoided New York because “it’s expensive” and the security requirements of a presidential visit disrupt the country’s largest city.

Federal Aviation Administration records indicate Trump will only be in the city a few hours. After dinner with Turnbull, Trump leaves for a weekend visit to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

It’s not clear whether he will even visit Trump Tower. Protest groups plan to stage demonstrations outside the building, which served as Trump’s home and office for more than 30 years.

Regular Protests

“Part of the reason that the president has not come back is because he knows that New Yorkers are united against his policies,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, which is organizing a protest in front of Trump Tower. “We’re going to make a statement about the fact that our New York values immigrants, unlike the president.”

Protests against Trump have regularly broken out in New York since he was elected and have included activists concerned about the president’s policies on health care, climate change, immigration and women’s rights.

More than 10,000 people gathered in New York’s Battery Park in January to protest Trump’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

The president may not have much time to see Thursday’s demonstrations. After arriving in Manhattan, Trump will meet in person for the first time with Turnbull. The two leaders will visit a museum aboard the U.S.S. Intrepid, a decommissioned aircraft carrier docked on the West Side of Manhattan.

Protesters also plan to gather near the aircraft carrier.

Tabloid Celebrity

Trump wasn’t always as a divisive figure in New York, though he regularly courted controversy and intrigue as he branded himself as a successful and brash businessman. Tabloids covered his three marriages, the ups and downs of his business ventures and his public battles with celebrities and local politicians.

In the first chapter of his memoir, “The Art of the Deal,” Trump described a typical day in Trump Tower--phone calls and meetings with real-estate executives, celebrities and Wall Street traders in his office, followed by time with his children in his palatial residence.

The 58-story tower is one of several buildings and complexes that carry the family name. High-profile properties in Manhattan include a 72-story tower near the United Nations, a building on Wall Street and hotels in different parts of Manhattan.

In recent days, Trump has reminisced on his time in New York before politics.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump said in an Oval Office interview with Reuters last month. “This is more work than my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

Center of Resistance

One of the difficulties Trump has faced as president is a burgeoning resistance movement, with massive protests across the country. Large cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, have held the biggest protests and Trump has clashed with Democratic local officials in urban areas.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has been a vocal critic, lambasting Trump again Monday for his pledge to cut off federal funding to so called “sanctuary cities,” that don’t aid the immigration authorities in deportation efforts. “We’re going to fight those cuts,” de Blasio said during an interview on NY1, an all-news cable channel.

For months de Blasio has pleaded with Trump to ask Congress to reimburse the city for more than $24 million in costs incurred guarding Trump Tower. That contentious issue got resolved earlier this week when Congress reached a deal to reimburse New York and other cities $61 million to help defray the expenses.

Ruddy said that, despite the political opposition in his hometown, Trump maintains a “warm spot” for New York.

The skills that allowed Trump to manage his political flexibility--transitioning from Democrat to Republican in New York before campaigning for president as a populist--were honed in the Big Apple, he said.

“That’s Donald Trump to the core,” he said. “If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.”

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