By Peter Szekely
NEW YORK, May 4 : US President Donald Trump returns to New York today for the first time since taking office, planning a bit of diplomacy as city officials brace for protests in the city where he built his name and fortune.
Trump’s departure for his January 20 inauguration ended a 2-1/2-month period following his November 8 election that was marked by mostly protesting but also admiring crowds outside his home in the Fifth Avenue tower that bears his name and served as his presidential transition headquarters.
Police are bracing for protests around the decommissioned aircraft carrier Intrepid on Manhattan’s west side where the businessman-turned-politician is set to meet with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and at Trump Tower in the busy midtown section.
Trump’s first 100 days in office brought rollbacks of environmental regulations, an attempt to repeal his predecessor’s signature healthcare law and crackdowns on immigrants, none of which play well in the liberal Northeast city.
“He’s from here, but we think his values are out of step with all the rest of us,” said Joe Dinkin, spokesman for the Working Families Party, which is leading a loosely coordinated collection of groups for a “Reject Trump” rally.
Fewer than one in five residents in America’s most populous city voted for Trump, even though he comes from the city’s Queens borough, built a brand in real estate and other ventures associated with New York, and has been tabloid fodder for decades.
The city has already run up a significant bill for protection of Trump and his family, including about 24 million dollar during the period between his election and inauguration and more than 300,000 dollar a day since then protecting first lady Melania Trump and 11-year-old son Barron, who have continued to live in Trump Tower since the president moved to Washington.
This week’s federal spending deal includes 61 million to reimburse New York and other local governments for providing Trump-related security.
Trump told Fox News last week he had not been back to his hometown because of the costs and public inconvenience involved with presidential travel, saying: “I hate to see the New Yorkers with streets closed.” After the events with Turnbull, which include a black-tie dinner on the Intrepid to mark the 75th anniversary of the World War Two Battle of the Coral Sea, Trump is expected to go to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for the weekend.