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Pro-, anti-Trump demonstrators on-hand for NYC visit

Protesters gathered in Manhattan on May 4, 2017 before President Donald Trump's visit to the city. (Credit: Newsday/David M.Schwartz)

Hundreds of protesters descended on the West Side of Manhattan on Thursday to blast President Donald Trump as he made his first visit to his hometown since moving into the White House.

They clashed with a smaller number of pro-Trump supporters, some of whom called the demonstrators “traitors.”

The protesters sang, banged on pots and pans, and chanted slogans like “Not my president” and “No Trump NYC” as they massed about a block from the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum where Trump dined with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

“Every day he’s taking a wrecking ball to this country,” said Beate Echols, 64, an art dealer from Manhattan.

Many said Trump was out of touch with the city and unwelcome here.

“He doesn’t represent this city,” said Steven McCasland, 30, of Queens, holding a sign that read “This village doesn’t want its idiot back.”

Christina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream, which advocates for undocumented immigrants, noted the city was made up of immigrants. “We’re the real New Yorkers. He’s a penthouse New Yorker.”

But pro-Trump marchers defended him, as the two groups exchanged angry words.

Jim MacDonald, 67, of Flushing shouted “You lost!” at anti-Trump demonstrators. “I’m here to welcome Donald Trump back to New York City and to show him America is behind him,” he said. “People on the other side are traitors.”

Elisa Nahoum, 46, of Bayside, said, “They are racist against Trump. They prejudge him. The guy’s in 200 days. Anybody who’s new in a job has to get his feet wet.”

She added: “I want to throw up on the liberals because they don’t love our country. . . . They are anti-American. Period.”

Across the street from the rally, men in black ties and women in ballgowns showed tickets to police to get past barricades and head to the Intrepid, where Trump would make remarks commemorating the Battle of the Coral Sea 75 years ago. Attendees declined to be interviewed. Anti-Trump protesters heckled them.

Protest organizers had said they expected thousands of demonstrators, but the numbers remained in the hundreds.

Maxine Lubow, 75, of upstate Orange County, held aloft a Statue of Liberty figure. “She’s a strong woman who represents the best of the United States. He’s stripping that away,” she said.

Earlier, about 300 protesters gathered at DeWitt Clinton Park, about a half mile from the Intrepid.

Drew Pham, 29, a student from Brooklyn and an Afghanistan War veteran, said he was offended by Trump’s promise to build a wall on the southern border and to institute a temporary ban on travelers from six majority Muslim countries.

“This is not the country I volunteered to fight for,” Pham said.

With Bart Jones

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