Political News

NYC prepared for president's return to Trump Tower

Posted 11:04 a.m. Friday
Updated 11:12 a.m. Friday

— President Donald Trump is expected to come home to Trump Tower for a few days starting Sunday, the first time since his inauguration, and New York City police are planning a slight security clampdown in the area around the skyscraper for the duration of his visit.

Trump first tweeted his plans Monday, saying he'd go home to the city for some meetings. He arrived at his private golf club in New Jersey a week ago Friday for a 17-day "working vacation." The White House hasn't divulged specifics on his New York stay.

After Trump was elected president Nov. 8, security around Trump Tower ramped up dramatically, even including a fleet of heavy sanitation department trucks filled with sand to wall off the front of the building from any potential vehicle bomb attack. A maze of barricades and checkpoints were manned by scores of uniformed police officers under the supervision of a mobile command center.

Since taking office, the president has surprisingly returned to the city only once, on May 4, for a visit with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum. He was in town for only a few hours. His absence allowed the New York Police Department to loosen security around Trump Tower, though it can dial it back up at any time, said police department spokesman Stephen Davis.

"We're ready," Davis said. "We're ready if he wants to show up tomorrow, or not at all."

Trump Tower poses a unique security challenge because portions of it are required, by law, to be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. as a result of a zoning deal Trump cut with the city when he built the skyscraper.

The tower continues to be the scene of frequent protest marches and demonstrations, though most in recent months have been smaller than the many huge demonstrations that followed the inauguration.

Opponents of Trump's immigration policies are planning to protest outside Trump Tower on Tuesday.

Police officials estimate the cost of securing the president while he's in town is roughly $300,000 per day, but that could easily change depending on whom he's with, how many people are in his entourage, where he's headed and how long he's planning to stay.

"The NYPD is the most expert police force on earth in terms of handling visits by an American president," Mayor Bill de Blasio said earlier this week. "They do an outstanding job. I think that we're going to be ready by any measure."

Trump's time in New York has "been a lot less than we expected," the Democratic mayor said. "To his credit, he kept the time here very limited and the disruption very limited. Hopefully, that will be the same this time."

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Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in Bedminster, N.J., contributed to this report.

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