The self-proclaimed king of New York in exile: An unwelcome mat remains out for ex-President Trump in the city of his birth
NEW YORK - Sorry, Mr. Trump - your name is not on the guest list. Your table won't be ready. And your money really isn't good here.
The unwelcome post-presidency mat remains for the native New Yorker in his hometown, the center of the Donald Trump universe for decades before defeating Hillary Clinton. Six years after the announcement of a longshot run in the White House in his skyscraper of the same name in Midtown, The Donald traded Manhattan for Mar-a-Lago and left his old turf.
Not that anyone complains too loudly. Queens-born Trump, the former gossip column regular and tabloid headline-maker, remains despised across town where he was overwhelmingly spurned by his old neighbors last November. Joe Biden of Scranton, Pennsylvania beat local Trump with 1.6 million votes and garnered 76% of the town's ballot papers.
The feeling is apparently mutual: the late Commander-in-Chief has visited his former home in Trump Tower exactly once since leaving Washington and spent two days in the city, where he is about as relevant as a restart of "The Apprentice" .
"He used to think he was the King of New York," said Barbara Res, former executive vice president of the Trump Organization. "And now he can't come here without 10,000 people protesting and hating his courage."
And so the NYC pariah hibernates in Florida with plans to stay in New Jersey this summer. His most recent public appearance was far off Broadway in Greenville, North Carolina, 500 miles south of his old dig and ongoing problems in his hometown: A criminal investigation conducted jointly by Manhattan's District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. and Attorney General Letitia James and two defamation lawsuits from women accusing Trump of sexual assault.
And there is the City Hall move to sever ties with the developer, including his banishment from ice rinks in Central Park and a fight to sack Trump from running a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course in the Bronx. The split followed his alleged role as instigator of the January 6 riots in the U.S. Capitol.
Longtime investigative journalist Tom Robbins recalled how Trump was hardly everyone's cup of tea long before he became just another Sunshine State snowbird.
Yes, he was once a fixture on the city's social scene, making headlines on his rotating roster of wives at countless events across Manhattan.
But there was something about Trump that made it hard to hug him, recalled Robbins.
"He was just the kind of New Yorker you could never believe a word the guy ever said," Robbins said. “Every word a lie. A cheater. This is Donald Trump. That's exactly what he was. "
When Trump returned to Midtown last March, the deposed one-year-old president was greeted by a lone Fifth Avenue supporter who received a wave from the heads of various failed businesses: Trump Airlines, Trump Steaks, Trump University, Trump Vodka.
The ex-boss only spent two days in his old home, a glittering reminder of better times in a city where he has become a minor matter.
"Arrest Trump," read a banner from demonstrators standing in front of the skyscraper. When Trump left, he couldn't overlook the pointed message that was painted on the street outside and addressed to him: "BLACK LIVES MATTER".
His son Donald Jr. responded with a succinct Instagram message that probably wouldn't win local hearts: "New York Deplorables, @realdonaldtrump is watching."
Things looked very different in Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, when Trump descended an escalator in his glittering Midtown building to announce an often threatened but never before run candidacy for the presidency.
"It's great to be in a wonderful city, New York," said Trump. "And it's an honor to have everyone here."
His announcement contained a staggering 257 references to Donald Trump ... all from Donald Trump. His divisive chatter about Mexican rapists and the construction of the border wall angered the residents of the heavily liberal city, and hostility only grew during his four years in the White House.
"He can't have enough bodyguards to walk around New York City," said Governor Andrew Cuomo last year. "Forget about bodyguards, he'd better have an army if he thinks he's walking the streets of New York."
The wall between Trump, now 74, and his country of birth now appears as permanent as the fickle developer's divorces - both front pages.
Trump's longtime former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen believes his old boss was forced to put a mental barricade between himself and the city, an obstacle he does not want to overcome.
"He needs crowd admiration, just as you need oxygen to survive," Cohen offered. "Now that he's a persona non grata in New York City, he moved to Palm Beach - where he believes he's universally revered."
Even his last name has become a horror: the former Trump SoHo Hotel changed its name to Domenick in 2017 thanks to a boycott in which NBA star LeBron James was also involved. And half a dozen apartment towers on the West Side that once bore his name voted to have their Trump signage removed between 2016-19.
Actress E. Jean Carroll recently found time to troll Trump over her pending libel suit, a legal lawsuit over her alleged rape by the ex-president in 1996 in a locker room in Bergdorf-Goodman's flagship store on Fifth Avenue.
"Trump's DNA will be easier to come by when he's with Rikers," she tweeted.
Summer Zervos, a former candidate for "The Apprentice," is the plaintiff in a similar proceeding that can be traced back to an alleged sexual assault by Trump in 2007. Trump has denied the allegations and is fighting both lawsuits.
New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani, son of Trump's attorney and former mayor Rudy Giuliani, said the ex-president still loves New York - he just doesn't want to live there.
"(Prosecutors) build their reputations by investigating Trump," he said. "So if you are Donald Trump why do you want to come back?"
But Queens colleague Peter Mehlman, who wrote in The Atlantic, broke the bad news that Trump had missed during his time in New York.
"He needed the presidency to learn," Mehlman wrote, "that he was always a joke for the whole city."
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