Rise and Resist and Gays Against Guns activists hoist a rainbow resistance banner created by the late Gilbert Baker, who died on March 31. | DONNA ACETO
For President Donald Trump’s first homecoming visit to New York City, protestors welcomed him with vocal resistance that flanked him every which way.
During his brief May 4 stop in the city, Trump met with Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, aboard the aircraft carrier Intrepid to honor the 75th anniversary of a joint US-Australian victory over Japan in a battle during World War II.
Public Advocate Letitia James speaking at DeWitt Clinton Park. | JACKSON CHEN
With Trump’s trip announced well in advance, protesters were prepared, launching vocal confrontations at strategic points throughout Manhattan. By 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, protestors organized by the Working Families Party were gathered at DeWitt Clinton Park at the corner of West 52nd Street and 12th Avenue, ready to march south toward the Intrepid at 46th Street.
“We have a duty, an obligation to fight back and transform this energy across this country into a powerful and enlightened and informed electoral base,” said Public Advocate Letitia James to the crowd of several thousand that stretched down the avenue.
Banging pots and pans, the protestors chanted, “Not My President!” and began their march toward the Intrepid.
“I have been totally consumed with anxiety listening to all the deregulation and all of the things he’s doing,” Maxine Lubow said of Trump. “So I’m lending my support and my voice to the resistance of our president.”
When asked to name specific things she opposed during Trump’s first 100 days in office, Lubow, an Orange County resident, countered, “You’d have to ask the reverse question, is there anything that I’m in support of?”
The Working Families protestors were able to march as far as West 47th Street, where blockades were set up to prevent them from getting close to the Intrepid. A second group of several hundred protestors, organized by Rise and Resist and Gays Against Guns, converged near barricades at West 44th Street and 12th Avenue, creating protest visuals from both the north and the south marring the hoped-for White House tableau of high level diplomacy on parade.
Coming from Greenwich Village, Melvyn Stevens was decked out in a towering costume of Steve Bannon, the White House senior advisor, in a judge’s robe and pulling the puppet strings of marionette Trump.
Melvyn Stevens as a Steve Bannon puppetmaster. | DONNA ACETO
“The man is just blatantly and sickeningly evil,” Stevens said. Asked how the city should welcome a hometown president up from Washington, he said, “I just hope [Trump] stays down there and doesn’t ever come back.”
Joining the symphony of resistance, Bronx resident Brian Yankou banged on a homemade drum kit of coffee cans and tomato tins to rally the troops.
“Everything that he’s done so far has been based in hatred and fear, favoring the rich over the powerless, and we reject all of that,” Yankou said. “I can’t think of a single thing that he’s even accidentally done right.”
Yankou said Trump’s actions ranging from pushing to repeal Obamacare to cracking down on immigrants and trying to block the entry of refugees, “has been the opposite of what I think American values would stand for.”
A third unit of several hundred protesters, organized by the New York Immigration Coalition and the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, mobilized at around 6 p.m. at the corner of East 54th and Fifth Avenue near Trump Tower.
“This is our New York and you are not welcome here,” Anu Joshi, the deputy director at the Immigrant Action Fund, said. “You cannot marginalize us, you cannot intimidate us, and you cannot divide us, Mr. Trump.”
“Up to and including today, Trump has demonstrated again and again that he doesn’t care about the Constitution,” Joshi said. “Well, we’re here to say that doesn’t fly in this city, that doesn’t fly in our streets. Those aren’t New York values, this is our New York, and we’re here to stay.”
Trump – who delayed his arrival in New York to host a Rose Garden celebration of yesterday’s House vote to repeal Obamacare – never made it to a meeting with Turnbull originally planned for Midtown ahead of the Intrepid event, and he opted not to sleep at his Fifth Avenue penthouse, instead heading for his New Jersey golf club after meeting with the Australian prime minister.
Immigration rights protesters on Fifth Avenue. | JACKSON CHEN
“Rather than causing a big disruption in N.Y.C.,” Trump tweeted the day after his appearance on the Hudson River, “I will be working out of my home in Bedminster, N.J. this weekend. Also saves country money!”
The field on Thursday wasn’t absent of Trump allies, though, as a couple of his supporters wandered around the Intrepid area among a sea of protestors.
Out gay City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca of Brooklyn speaks to immigration rights advocates assembled several blocks below Trump Tower. | JACKSON CHEN
Ron H., a Staten Island Trump supporter, said he showed up at the Intrepid to support his president, who was “trying to do good.”
Surrounded by anti-Trump protestors on all sides, Ron sought to find a pro-Trump refuge somewhere, repeatedly asking police officers, “Is there any nice people over there?” to which an officer quipped, “There’s nice people everywhere.”
Jay Walker, a leader at Rise and Resist. | DONNA ACETO
Elliot Crown, left, and Marni Halasa, two political performance artists satirizing the First Couple's lifestyles. | JACKSON CHEN
Another protester focused on the Trump administration’s tilt toward the wealthy. | DONNA ACETO
RoseAnn Rosenfeld Hermann and Cathy Marino-Thomas, activists from Gays Against Guns, marching on 12th Avenue. | DONNA ACETO
A protester near 44th and 12th Avenue. | DONNA ACETO
On the day the House Republicans voted to repeal President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, one protester offers his view. | DONNA ACETO