Donald Trump could arrive in New York City for his first visit since leaving the White House as soon as Sunday night, according to multiple reports.
The former president was born in Queens and rose to fame in Manhattan but changed his primary residence to Florida in 2019 and has been at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach since leaving Washington on 20 January.
After reports of a New York visit proliferated on Saturday, the local station WABC-TV reported that police were preparing to increase security around Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan. The New York police department did not comment.
Trump’s New York home was the subject of protests and a heavy police presence from the start of his run for the White House in summer 2015 through to the end of his term in office in the acrid aftermath of the 6 January Capitol attack.
In July 2020, amid national protests for racial justice and policing reform, city authorities painted the words “Black Lives Matter” on the street outside Trump Tower. Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed to have “liberated” that stretch of Fifth Avenue. The mural was repeatedly vandalised.
Trump was impeached for a second time for inciting the Capitol insurrection, in which five people died, as part of his claim that his defeat by Joe Biden was the result of electoral fraud, a lie repeatedly thrown out of court. He was acquitted, when only seven Republican senators voted to convict him.
He retains a grip on Republican politics, regularly topping polls of potential presidential nominees for 2024 but this week reportedly demanding the party stop fundraising using his name.
On Saturday, the New York Daily News quoted Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, referring to a gold statue that made a splash at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida last week, when he said: “The human Donald must … be put on display for the multitude of NYC followers.”
In truth Trump remains a divisive figure in New York, a largely Democratic city, amid two investigations that have added to his considerable legal jeopardy since losing the protections of office. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr, and the state attorney general, Letitia James, are both looking into Trump’s financial affairs.
Cohen is under house arrest in the city, completing a sentence for offences including paying hush money to two women who claimed affairs with Trump, claims Trump denied, though he admitted knowing of the payments.
Cohen has spoken to Vance. The Daily News said Trump’s visit would not be in connection with that investigation, which received a huge boost last month when the US supreme court declined to block access to Trump’s tax returns and financial records.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner have also relocated to Florida since the end of their time in power, with Ivanka thought likely to mount a run for US Senate in the southern state.
Trump’s own future in Florida has been called into question. Though he owns the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, a 1993 agreement says he cannot live there permanently. Last month the former president won favourable comments from the town attorney, in a hearing involving residents who want to hold Trump to that deal. A decision is due in April.