US president’s ‘many sides to blame’ comment draws fire online after deadly car ramming at far-right rally.
Several hundred protesters demonstrated outside Trump Tower in New York denouncing US President Donald Trump before his first visit to his New York home since taking office more than six months ago.
The visit on Monday comes amid an uproar in the United States over his response to a white supremacist attack in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left one person dead.
Trump blamed “many sides” for the violence and did not condemn neo-Nazi elements involved by name until several days later.
“Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Trump the racist has to go,” the crowd sang, some holding up giant balloon letters in gold that read “FU TRUMP.”
“No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA,” the group chanted.
Lynn Gray, a former banker who now runs her own company, was among those denouncing the president.
“I am terrified of what country we’ve become, the fact that white supremacists, Nazis, anti-Semites feel empowered by our president. He’s destroying everything that our forefathers worked for,” Gray said.
Teacher Kevin Gallagher, 61, said he at first gave Trump “a chance” despite his dislike of the Republican.
“But this week has been truly the lowest of his presidency,” Gallagher said. “He needs to see what his fellow citizens think of him.”
Dozens of officers stood guard in the surrounding area and at least one woman protesting was arrested, as angry demonstrators rounded on those in uniform shouting “Who do you serve?”
Trump arrived in New York City in the late evening, driving through the relatively empty streets of Manhattan under a heavy police presence.
No protesters could be seen from the motorcade along the way, as many were gathered on a different street from its route.
“Feels good to be home after seven months, but the White House is very special, there is no place like it … and the US is really my home,” Trump said on Twitter.
Trump took heat from Democrats and Republicans alike for his initial subdued response to a deadly weekend rally by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Under pressure to explicitly condemn the violence, Trump earlier Monday denounced racism and slammed the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis as “criminals and thugs”.
Trump’s presidential campaign drew the backing of many on the far-right, including former-KKK leader David Duke and white supremacist ideologue Richard Spencer.
The US president’s promise to ban Muslims from entering the country and descriptions of some Hispanics as rapists, drug dealers, and “bad hombres”, won him acclaim in far-right circles.