President Donald Trump‘s homecoming to New York City Monday night was met with protests as people lined up outside of Trump Tower.
Trump tweeted about his return to the city, writing, “Leaving for New York City and meetings on military purchases and trade.”
The commander-in-chief’s arrival comes after violent protests erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday night. The president faced backlash over his initial response to the white nationalist rally that claimed the lives of three people.
He followed up his statement with a second one, condemning “racism” for leading to “the horrific attack and violence that was witnessed by everyone.”
Trump landed in New York City at about 8:30 p.m., according to The New York Daily News.
Thousands of people rallied outside of Trump Tower on Monday, while another group staged a mock “die-in” and funeral for American values nearby before marching, the Daily News reported.
People chanted “No KKK! No Racist U.S.A.! F— Trump!” while waiting for Trump to arrive.
Protesters gathered outside of Trump Tower, holding signs that read “White Silence Equals Death,” as well as swastikas with a red line running through it to denounce the Nazi party.
Several other people held signs that read “PEACE” and “We The People SAY NO” in white font against a Pride flag.
Trump began his Monday remarks by boasting that the stock market continued to hit record highs, as well as how unemployment continued to drop.
He did not acknowledge that his initial response blamed “many sides” for the violence, simply saying: “As I said on Saturday, we condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence.”
According to a pool report, the president declined to answer any shouted questions following his press conference, including several about whether he regretted waiting until now to denounce racism.
On Saturday, violence broke out at a pre-planned “Unite the Right” rally as the white supremacist protesters clashed with counter-protesters who were demonstrating against the event. A 20-year-old man identified as James Alex Fields Jr. is accused of ramming his car into a group of protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
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On Monday, Trump mentioned by name Heyer and the two Virginia state troopers, Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Berke M. M. Bates, who were killed Saturday afternoon in a helicopter crash as they were responding to the rally.
“Her death fills us with grief,” Trump said of Heyer.
Asked by CNN why he didn’t “condemn those hate groups by name over the weekend,” the president replied, “They have been condemned. They have been condemned.”
The network followed up by asking the president why he didn’t hold a 3 p.m. press conference on Monday as previously promised.
“We had a press conference. We just had a press conference,” Trump said, adding that “it doesn’t bother me at all” to answer more questions.
“But I like real news,” he said, telling the CNN reporter: “You’re fake news. You’re fake news.”