WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is expected to return to Manhattan over the weekend to attend a UFC mixed martial arts match, but the lifelong New Yorker may not be calling the Big Apple his home for much longer.
His trip comes as documents obtained by the New York Times indicate the president recently filed paperwork declaring Palm Beach, Florida, his new permanent residence.
And on Thursday evening, Trump confirmed the Times report in a series of tweets saying New York “will always have a special place in my heart” while acknowledging his rocky relationship with the city and state’s Democratic leaders.
“I cherish New York, and the people of New York, and always will, but unfortunately, despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state. Few have been treated worse,” Trump tweeted. "I hated having to make this decision, but in the end it will be best for all concerned. As President, I will always be there to help New York and the great people of New York. It will always have a special place in my heart!"
Last month Trump and his wife, Melania, quietly filed a “declaration of domicile” with the Palm Beach County Clerk’s Office declaring his Mar-a-Lago estate his primary residence, while listing his Trump Tower address as his former primary residence, according to documents obtained by the New York Times that were published Thursday night.
“I formerly resided at 721 Fifth Avenue,” the document states, referring to Trump’s namesake skyscraper in midtown Manhattan that served as his residence, corporate headquarters and the launching pad for his 2016 presidential campaign.
White House officials declined to comment on why Trump, who has long branded himself as a master New York City developer, decided to make the change, but a source close to the president told the Times the move was likely an effort to reduce Trump’s tax bill.
The move could also benefit Trump’s heirs in the long run by escaping New York’s 16 percent estate tax rate for estates larger than $10.1 million according to the Times.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, issued a statement shortly after the Times piece published, saying: “Good riddance.”
“It’s not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway,” Cuomo wrote referring to previous reporting by the Times last year that indicated Trump and his family had a long history of filing tax returns with valuations for their properties that were far below their worth, allowing them to pay millions less in taxes.
“He’s all yours, Florida,” said Cuomo.
Trump is slated to attend the latest Ultimate Fighting Championship bout at Madison Square Garden before spending the night at Trump Tower, according to a source familiar with the planning.
The president’s visit will come amid already heightened security and street closures for Sunday’s New York City Marathon. It’s unclear if the president will return to the White House before the 8:30 a.m. start of the marathon.
The White House has not officially disclosed details of the trip, as is customary due to security concerns, but a Federal Aviation Administration advisory released in advance of the president’s Air Force One travel notes that pilots in the area “can expect airspace restrictions” on Saturday and Sunday. The NYPD did not respond to inquiries about security in anticipation of Trump’s trip.
UFC president Dana White is an avid Trump supporter, having praised Trump during a prime-time speech during the 2016 Republican National Convention.
“I’ve been in the fight business my whole life,” White said during his July 2016 speech. “I know fighters … Donald Trump is a fighter and I know he will fight for this country.”
UFC spokesman Chris Costello did not respond to an email seeking comment about Trump’s attendance at the match between fighters Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz.
Masvidal, asked about Trump’s possible appearance at the match, told celebrity website TMZ he was “of course” honored by the prospect.
“No matter what your political views on him, not every fighter can say, ‘hey, the president is showing up to my fight,’” Masvidal told TMZ in a video posted to its website.
Trump’s expected appearance at the sporting event, first reported by the New York Times, comes nearly a week after he was met with jeers and chants of “lock him up” while attending Game 5 of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.
Washington, D.C., officials have announced plans for a championship parade to honor the Nationals on Saturday.