Man who climbs Trump Tower dragged to safety; said he wanted meeting with GOP nominee

Trump representative terms incident 'ridiculous and dangerous stunt'

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By Alexia Fernandez, Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK — A young man who said he had to discuss an important matter with Donald Trump climbed about 20 stories of the Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday, using suction cups to scale the tower before police officers dragged him through a window to safety.

Once in custody, the climber did not express any intent to cause harm, according to New York Police Department officials.

Officials did say the man, who is from Virginia, wanted to meet with Trump and posted a YouTube video on Thursday asking for a meeting.

“Hello, Mr. Trump, do excuse my appearance,” begins the man, who is dressed in a black jacket with the hoodie worn up over his head. “I just don’t know how many people will watch this. But I’d rather not be recognizable.”

He describes himself as an “independent researcher” who wanted to get Trump’s attention and gain a private meeting with him. “Believe me, if my purpose was not significant, I would not risk my life pursuing it,” he says.

The video, which was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday, appears to have been shot in a home and the man never looks directly at the camera.

He ended the video by showing support toward Trump’s presidential campaign.

“As for anyone else who’s watching, please help make this video go viral so that it gets to Mr. Trump and be sure to get out and vote for Mr. Trump in the 2016 election,” he said.

Onlookers gathered across the street from the tower as the climber scaled the glass building. NYPD officers arrived on the scene a little after 4 p.m. The NYPD’s Special Operations Division set up a giant air bag underneath the climber, and portions of Fifth Avenue were closed to traffic.

Witnesses interviewed by a local TV news station, ABC7NY, said the climber began to panic once he realized people had noticed his movements.

“He was acting kind of weird, jumping around,” one witness said.

Police officers smashed a window and ventilation duct in an attempt to block the man’s path. When that didn’t work, they lowered a scaffold containing NYPD officers in another attempt to block his progress.

The climber continued eluding the police, climbing toward angled corners of the building. Officers then removed two windows from the 21st floor and began speaking to the climber.

About 6:30 p.m., the climber reached the corner where officers were stationed. When he got close, they quickly grabbed him and hauled him over the window ledge into their custody.

The executive vice president of the Trump Tower Organization, Michael Cohen, released a statement after the incident.

“This man performed a ridiculous and dangerous stunt,” Cohen said. “There’s damage to the building and he caused the unnecessary deployment of New York’s finest to protect his safety and the safety of everyone in the building. I’m 100 percent certain the NYPD had better things to do.”

The climber was taken to NYC Health Plus Hospitals/Bellevue to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, according to the NYPD. He will be arrested.

Donald Trump was at a rally in Abingdon, Va., during the incident. Trump sent out tweets on various subjects Wednesday, but by early evening had not tweeted about the climber.

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