New Yorkers have taken to the streets to protest against President Donald Trump as he returned to his hometown for the first time since taking office.
The presidential motorcade was greeted by hundreds of protesters as it arrived at the decommissioned aircraft carrier Intrepid on Thursday evening for a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Large crowds assembled across the street at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, where Trump spoke Thursday night. Protesters also gathered near Trump Tower, the president’s home and business headquarters.
Shouting slogans like “Not My President,” and carrying signs that said “Dump Trump” and “Make America THINK Again,” the demonstrators challenged the businessman-turned-politician’s policy on everything from immigration to healthcare.
“As a lifelong New Yorker, I think there’s something particularly appalling about Trump coming from this environment and just not representing New Yorkers in any way whatsoever,” Lauren Rothman, a writer from Brooklyn, told the Daily News.
“New York is an immigrant town. New York is a melting pot, and the policies that he represents don’t represent New Yorkers. I think he should know that we don’t like him and that he has no home here,” she added.
The rally came hours after Trump held a hastily arranged celebration at the White House with Republicans from the House of Representatives who narrowly passed a bill to repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
Trump’s role in efforts to scrap his Democratic predecessor’s signature healthcare law further angered the protesters.
“It could cost me my health insurance,” Rob Adkins, a professional musician from Brooklyn who is insured through Obamacare, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
Around 80 percent of New Yorkers voted for Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
The rallies throughout Manhattan on Thursday were reminiscent of the weeks after Trump’s victory last November, when protesters frequently gathered outside his home in Fifth Avenue.
Trump had dinner with the Australian prime minister later in the day. The president hailed the alliance with Australia and its military contributions to current and past US-led wars.
It was the first-face-to-face meeting between Trump and Turnbull, whose acrimonious phone conversation in January strained ties between their countries.
“They said we had a rough phone call. We didn’t really have a rough phone call,” Trump said in dinner remarks. “It got a little bit testy. But that’s okay.”
Turnbull was one of the first foreign leaders Trump spoke to after taking office on January 20. The president became irritated after Turnbull pressed him to honor a refugee agreement made by former President Barack Obama.