New York braces for Trump's first stay home as protesters gather
President Donald Trump will return to his midtown Manhattan apartment for the first time since taking office, for a three-day visit likely to snarl traffic and draw protests.
The president, who left his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course Monday morning for a quick trip to Washington, is to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport about 8:15 p.m. on Monday night. After a 20-minute Marine One helicopter flight to a landing zone near Wall Street, his motorcade will whisk him to his triplex home at Trump Tower overlooking Fifth Avenue.
Trump’s return is spurring protests, particularly after he stopped short of explicitly denouncing white nationalists who gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, in his initial remarks over the weekend. After fielding criticism from both sides of the aisle, Trump on Monday declared that “racism is evil” and denounced hate groups by name.
On Sunday, protesters marched from Columbus Circle through Times Square and then to Trump Tower, holding signs criticizing his response to the events in Charlottesville. Police temporarily shut down traffic on Fifth Avenue. More protests were being organized for Monday via social media.
Roads near Trump Tower will be closed during the visit. The New York Police Department said residents should expect shutdowns and delays in the area surrounding East 57th Street and Fifth Avenue until Trump departs, and is encouraging the use of mass transit.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, D, said New Yorkers should skirt the area.
“The best thing is, if you can avoid that part of town, please stay away from that part of midtown,” de Blasio said Sunday at the Dominican Day Parade.
The nighttime arrival should curb the impact on rush hour traffic -- a major concern for Trump, who has said one reason he’s limited travel to his home city is the impact on commuters. Last week, Trump told reporters in Bedminster he’d experienced how troublesome presidential visits were to the city.
“During the time that I lived in Manhattan, whenever a president came in, it was very disruptive, and I think I’m probably more disruptive than any of them,” he said.
While the president’s “working vacation” this week will be his first time spending the night in New York since his inauguration, Trump has visited the city since taking office. In May, he hosted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum for diplomatic talks and a gala to commemorate the World War II alliance between the U.S. and Australia.
The president is expected to return Wednesday to Bedminster to finish his two-week vacation.
--With assistance from Henry Goldman