Subscriber OnlyUSAnalysis

Trump indictment: A nation’s divisions play out in Manhattan park

Discord among Americans was apparent ahead of the former president’s court appearance

At Collect Pond Park, just across the street from the building where Donald Trump was scheduled to be arrested and arraigned, Marjorie Taylor Greene did her best to defend her leader.

Wearing sunglasses and speaking into a hand-held megaphone, the congresswoman hit out at “communists” and proclaimed that Republicans were the party of secure borders and of two genders, male and female.

She said that Trump had brought peace to the world, “not World War three, like Joe Biden is doing”.

Unfortunately, very few could hear her as she was largely drowned out by the heckles and whistles of political opponents.


There was heightened security across Lower Manhattan on Tuesday as the time drew near for Trump to turn up at the office of the district attorney to be arrested and brought before a court.

The nearby city hall in New York was ringed by police officers in uniform standing around the perimeter fence.

There were also lines of police outside the court building.

The former president had last month called for protests if he was indicted by a grand jury in New York which had been hearing evidence about the payment of $130,000 to an adult film star just before the 2016 presidential election, allegedly to buy her silence over an affair with the then candidate Trump.

Trump has repeatedly denied that he ever had a relationship with the adult film actor, Stormy Daniels.

On Tuesday morning police had divided the small park across from the court building into two sections divided by barriers, one for pro-Trump supporters and the other for those opposed to the former president.

Several dozen Trump fans descended on the park but appeared to be outnumbered by the mass crowds of reporters and TV crews in the area.

One man waved a flag proclaiming “Trump or death”, others wore American flags draped around their shoulders or red Maga (Make America Great Again) hats.

A group of about half a dozen African Americans arrived wearing white T-shirts with the logo “Blacks for Trump”.

On the other side, one woman held a sign warning that justice was coming for Trump.

Another said simply: “I believe Stormy Daniels”.

Controversial Republican congressman George Santos, who is under investigation over fabrications in the CV given to voters before his election in November, turned up in the park. He was mobbed by reporters and simply said he was there to support Trump.

Inevitably the two groups began to merge on occasions.

Police officers quickly removed a woman holding up a orange “Trump 4 Prison” sign who had been in the side of the park earmarked for those backing the former president.

Strangely, just up the road from the court building and the chaos in the park across the road, a long line was queuing at another building. Hundreds of immigrants were waiting for appointments regarding their asylum applications.

One woman in the park told The Irish Times she had travelled to the court building specifically to back the former president.

Rosa Cerrado from New York described the prosecution Mr Trump as a “sham”.

“Our freedoms are being taken away, our rights as individuals. It is all about global control and the new world order. They are shoving down our throats things that we do not want to do.

“We want America to be America for Americans.”

Pamela Menera said “they” were trying to prevent Trump from running for president again.

Asked who “they” were, she replied “the globalists who are trying to run the world” and the people who were funnelling campaign funding to district attorneys.

“It is insanity what is going on here. [It is about] a non-disclosure agreement. There are millions of them all over the country every day. It is not illegal, ” she told The Irish Times.

Dion Cini, who had the “Trump or death” flag, said he was out every day in support for Trump in the New York City “because he is the greatest president that ever lived”.

He said the prosecution of Trump was ridiculous but was also “bad for New Yorkers”.

“The district attorney is tying up half his staff right now, letting people out of jail, letting crime happen in the streets. And they are going to use all the resources to indict a man and stop him from winning for the third time.

“They are doing everything they possibly can to stop this man.

“He is the greatest president we ever had. He said ‘America first’. No other president has ever said ‘America first’.”

Cini said if the governor of Florida Ron DeSantis “somehow miraculously” secured the Republican Party nomination for the presidency, he would vote for Joe Biden or the Democrat candidate.

“I do not like traitors,” he said.

Trump, for his part on Tuesday morning in advance of his arrest and appearance in court, suggested that any criminal case should be moved out of Manhattan to Staten Island.

“Very unfair venue, with some areas that voted one per cent Republican. This case should be moved to nearby Staten Island – Would be a very fair and secure location for the trial,” Mr Trump wrote on his social media platform.