What to Know
- NYC officials say the city is ready for any potential fallout from protests and unrest on Tuesday when former President Donald Trump surrenders at the Manhattan DA's office
- Trump ally U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene arrived in NYC for Trump's expected arraignment on Tuesday; the indictment likely won't be unsealed until then
- The NYPD has said it is aware of no credible threats to NYC at this point; with the pall of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection still looming large, law enforcement at all levels of government have prepared accordingly
Hundreds of onlookers, protestors, journalists and a few-attention seeking politicians swarmed the lower Manhattan courthouse where former President Donald Trump was scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon.
A morning "Rally for Trump" in support of the ex-president had been expected to draw numbers, including headlining speaker Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. The Republican lawmaker arrived amid the chaotic crowds of pro and anti-Trump supporters where she delivered brief remarks.
Shouting through a small handheld megaphone, Greene's message to Trump's supporters was essentially drowned out by the suffocating crowd of people and media gathered outside. Security whisked her away a few minutes later.
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In an interview posted online, Greene said she planned to speak with media from a car and accused counter-protesters of assault for blowing whistles and shouting as she spoke. Whistles, NBC News reported, were being handed out by a Trump supporter: "We’re here to make noise."
In an interview with NBC News from inside her car, Greene said that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is "not prosecuting President Trump, they're persecuting him."
The controversial Republican known for her extremist viewpoints had brief support from Rep. George Santos, who appeared among the courthouse chaos half an hour before the rally's official start time. He left around 10 a.m. with no plan to return. During his "blink and "blink and you'll miss it" appearance, the Long Island politician criticized Bragg and expressed his support for Trump.
“I’m not here for the cameras,” he insisted to reporters. “I want to support the president, just because I think this is unprecedented, and it’s a bad day for democracy.”
New York's own Rep. Jamaal Bowman was among the crowd shouting as Greene left the Manhattan courthouse.
"Go back to your district. What are you doing here? You're here for politics," Bowman said.
The crowds grew larger as the hour drew closer to Trump's arrival at the courthouse to become the first president in U.S. history to face criminal charges.
Demonstrators broke out into chants of “No one is above the law; Trump is not above the law.”
The crowd was small, by the standards of New York City protests, which routinely draw thousands. And fears that unruly mobs might force police to shut down swaths of the city proved to be unfounded, with security measures mostly disappearing within a couple of blocks.
Initial crowd estimates from police had Trump supporters outnumber his detractors by a margin of about 2-to-1. Both sides were separated by metal barriers. The size of the barricaded crowds may match the volume of press members covering the day, which have also swarmed the area.
Anti-Trump protestors unfurled a large banner saying “Trump Lies All the Time.” A brief scuffle broke out between pro and anti-Trump supporters, with the former tearing up a banner outside the courthouse. NBC News reports police intervened and separated the groups.
With the pall of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection still looming large, the NYPD and its law enforcement partners at all levels of government have been preparing for any eventuality. At a press conference the day before, the head of the NYPD warned of rolling street closures and increased police presence, both likely to gum up movement around Manhattan.
Some may just want to stay out of the city -- especially if they intend to cause any disruption, Mayor Eric Adams added.
The Democrat and former police officer urged self-restraint for any protesters on either side who plan to converge on Manhattan this week. Adams specifically called out ardent Trump loyalist Greene, who tweeted last week she planned to come to New York to support him Tuesday.
"Control yourselves. This city isn't a playground for your misplaced anger," Adams said Monday. "People like MTG, who is known for spreading misinformation and hate speech, she stated that she's coming to our town. While you're here, be on your best behavior."
Trump Arraignment Day: Scenes From Manhattan Courthouse
The former president had vocal support over the weekend in New York from a number of Republican allies, including possible presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. The Florida governor took the stage in Long Island alongside Rep. Lee Zeldin to blast Bragg for what he called a "flimsy" indictment.
"They're trying to do all these legal gymnastics to try and act like it's a felony when almost every other time he's trying to take the felonies and downgrade them to misdemeanors," DeSantis said Saturday.
Some demonstrated after Trump told the globe he expected to be arrested, but those protests were largely muted. The NYPD has said there's no credible threat to the city at this point, and it has ordered every member of the department to report in full uniform Friday.
That mandate is a precautionary measure and covers about 36,000 NYPD officers and 19,000 civilian employees. It comes as top officials shore up security plans ahead of what potentially could be a busy weekend of pro- and anti-Trump demonstrations throughout the city, especially in front of Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.
The Fifth Avenue location has continued to attract supporters, opponents and tourists who just want to see the scene.
An Eric Adams spokesman said, "The mayor is in constant contact with Commissioner Sewell about all public safety issues affecting the city. The NYPD continues to monitor all activity and there are no credible threats to the city at this time. The NYPD always remains prepared to respond to events happening on the ground and keep New Yorkers safe."
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine also said he was bracing for whatever may come, tweeting last week that "NYPD and other law enforcement agencies have been planning and coordinating intensively for this moment. New York City is ready. If there is a Trump mob, they have lost the element of surprise."
Security is expected to be more intense in Lower Manhattan, where NYPD officers escorted District Attorney Alvin Bragg from his office last week. The kind of security needed to get the former president in and out of the same building poses an unprecedented logistical challenge the NYPD and the court system say they are prepared for.
The grand jury indictment has remained sealed and is expected to stay sealed until Trump's arraignment. Multiple sources say it includes about 30 counts of document fraud-related charges. Trump has denied wrongdoing.