Donald Trump drew a crowd to Manhattan’s Plaza Hotel today, but he slipped in and out without encountering the protesters and gawkers waiting for him at the main entrance. A crowd of about 200-300, along with a significant press contingent, gathered in anticipation of his appearance at a benefit luncheon.
Seemingly split about evenly between people voicing opposition to Trump and those curious or drawn to the spectacle, their anticipation would be unsatisfied. Aided by a bullhorn, a group steadily chanted anti-Trump slogans as his arrival drew near. A single pro-Trump demonstrator wearing a sandwich board promoting a shooting range and a “Make America Great Again” hat meandered through the crowd, periodically bellowing out support for Trump. The anti-Trump protesters tried chanting over him at times and held signs in front of him at one point, but he was largely left alone.
On a raised spot on the side of the steps that glide up into the Plaza I squeezed in among a group of early teens from Tennessee. Excited at having already seen Lady Gaga and, they thought, DJ from Full House on their maiden voyage to New York City they were eager to catch a glimpse of Donald Trump. They liked New York, they said, but could do without the rudeness. With a deep drawl one girl noted that New Yorkers “don’t say yes ma’am and no ma’am” and instead people “say F you to you”, reporting on instances of that occurring. An Ohio teen also on our elevated observation post seemed quite familiar with Trump via Celebrity Apprentice. Appearing reasonably familiar with the presidential race she nonetheless did not know that her state’s governor (John Kasich) is also in the race.
The crowd, already restless, began dispersing once word spread that Trump was inside. By the time he left via a side exit more than an hour later few people remained and his departure was barely noticed.
N.B. According to news reports several people protested inside the luncheon and were forcibly ejected.