91 Minutes Outside Trump Tower
Photoessay: Images taken outside of Trump Tower on 5th Avenue in New York from 3:24 to 4:55pm Saturday, September 30th, 2017
These photos were taken Saturday afternoon outside of Trump Tower as several protestors gathered with signs related both to the #TakeAKnee campaign and the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico post Hurricane Maria. Several Trump supporters also spent much of the time there, demonstrating their support for the President and often interacting with the protestors.
The #TakeAKnee protestors were entirely peaceful and mostly spent their time lined up against the police barricades, unless they were asked to move. Then they walked slowly back and forth in front of Trump Tower, as did the Trump Supporters.
One Trump supporter I’ve often seen outside the building took the opportunity to defend Trump for the way he is handling the crisis in Puerto Rico. He told listeners he’s from Puerto Rico and echoing the words of the President, repeatedly said the Puerto Ricans needed to help themselves. He also claimed repeatedly that all the truck drivers in Puerto Rico were on strike and refused to help.
He and the generally silent friend who accompanied him also wore patches on their “Make America Great Again” caps depicting the insignia of the NYPD’s Counterterrorism Bureau. This gentleman is one of the loudest with his support for the President and at one point engaged in a verbal altercation with another man wearing a black Puerto Rico t-shirt and carrying a PR flag. The latter gentleman was quickly escorted away by the nearby police.
As the afternoon progressed, protestors came and went, some of whom were expecting a larger planned Take a Knee Against White Supremacy Rally to be taking place. The rally had been cancelled, however, despite 2.5 thousand people saying they were “interested” in attending. Given Donald Trump’s comments on Twitter earlier this same morning about Puerto Rico and the Mayor of San Juan, however, many of the protestors shifted their attention to protesting about the President’s behavior and perceived inactivity towards the U.S. territory and the millions of U.S. citizens there.
Another vigorous supporter of Donald Trump who often appears here and at Trump protests is Jovi Val. Val appeared in the press recently when he was attacked in a Manhattan bar. He told a conservative blog that when he dropped his red MAGA cap, a woman stepped on it. Val then got into a fight with the woman’s boyfriend, who struck him in the face with a bottle. Val, who’s birth name is Javanni Valle, also achieved momentary notoriety, when he joined another protestor and Trump supporter to interrupt the Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar this summer. The two protested Cesar’s depiction as a Trump-like figure and were quickly escorted from the Delacorte Theater.
Val spent his time livestreaming the event and did confront two women at the location to argue with them about their signs and the beliefs they espoused.
When Val confronted this woman, he asked her, “What makes him a hooded fella?” He said, “You’re insulting my President.” The apparently British woman responded that she made the poster after Charlottesville and Val remarked that she was upset because Trump mentioned “the alt left, “a group who leaves scars on people’s faces.” The entire exchange can be viewed on Val’s Periscope stream.
Another fan of the President carried a Trump/MAGA flag and walked quietly up and down before the building. She eventually held open with a fellow supporter. A group of white women applauded them and joined them for photographs.
As you can often see outside Trump Tower, however, many expressed their displeasure with the President simply and directly.