U.S. President Donald Trump was set to return to his hometown on Thursday for the first time since taking office, as many New Yorkers took to the streets to protest the politics of the man who built his name and fortune in the city.
The centerpiece of Trump’s trip, a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull aboard the decommissioned aircraft carrier Intrepid, was pushed back several hours as Trump celebrated at the White House with fellow Republicans from the U.S. House of Representatives who narrowly passed a new healthcare bill.
But that did not stop demonstrators with the Working Families Party from rallying at a park near the Intrepid, now a floating museum on Manhattan’s West Side, banging pans, chanting “not my president” and carrying signs including one that read, “This village doesn’t want its idiot back!”
“We are here to protect our nation … and quite simply, we are the resistance. It’s time that we defeat this administration,” said New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, a Democrat.
If anything, Trump’s role in efforts to repeal the so-called Obamacare signature healthcare law of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, further incensed protesters.
“I think they should have improved Obamacare instead of getting rid of it,” said Barbara Sakin, 72, a flight attendant from New York who joined the protest.
The demonstrations, which included other groups throughout Manhattan, were reminiscent of the weeks after Trump’s Nov. 8 election when frequent protests took place outside his home in the Fifth Avenue tower that bears his name.
The first 100 days since the Jan. 20 inauguration of the businessman-turned-politician brought rollbacks of environmental regulations and crackdowns on immigrants, none of which play well in the liberal Northeast city.
Fewer than one in five residents in the United States’ most populous city voted for Trump, even though he comes from its Queens borough, built a real estate brand and other ventures associated with New York, and has been fodder for its tabloid newspapers for decades.
Providing security for first lady Melania Trump, who has continued to live in Trump Tower while their 11-year-old son Barron finishes the school year, has been a costly obligation for New York.
After spending about $24 million during the transition and $300,000 a day since then, Congress voted last week to reimburse the city and other local governments for $61 million.
After the events with Turnbull, which include a black-tie dinner on the Intrepid to mark the 75th anniversary of World War Two’s Battle of the Coral Sea, Trump was expected to go to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for the weekend.