— NY1 Noticias (@NY1noticias) September 3, 2015
Trump Tower — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s 58-story skyscraper in midtown Manhattan — doesn’t evoke images of protesters battling authorities. After all, there is a Gucci store on the premises. But after a Trump event at the tower on Thursday, a protester scuffled with a member of Trump’s security detail in a brief altercation that highlighted divisions between the candidate and Hispanics.
Trump was in New York to pledge he would not run as a third-party candidate.
“I will be totally pledging my allegiance to the Republican Party and the conservative principles for which it stands,” Trump said, waving the pledge — signed with his trademark Sharpie — in the air. “We will go out and fight hard, and we will win.”
Protesters were there to call attention to Trump’s always controversial comments about immigrants. As images posted by CNN show, they came wearing faux Ku Klux Klan hoods and hats. They made what looked like a Miss Universe effigy decorated with a banner that included swastikas. One held a sign with a picture of a Native American in tribal regalia — caption: “This is a real Native American” — next to a picture of Trump that read “This is a real f—king immigrant” and “Go back to Europe!” And they carried a sign that parodied Trump’s ubiquitous campaign slogan: “Make America racist again.”
“We need to spread the philosophy of the Aztec people!” one shouted in video posted by CNN’s MJ Lee. “We need to spread the ideas of the Mayan people!”
“These people built America,” another protester said, as Park Slope Patch reported. “If you don’t believe that, then take these skyscrapers and shove them up your a—.”
Protester: “We are making fun of Donald Trump” pic.twitter.com/akdlrh5hqZ
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) September 3, 2015
It was the “Make America racist again” sign, perhaps, that proved the last straw.
In video posted by NY1 Noticias, a 24-hour, Spanish-language cable news station in New York, members of what appeared to be Trump Tower security took the sign away. When a protester tried to retrieve it, grabbing a guard from behind, the guard turned and punched the protester in the face. Another guard separated the men and, after heated words were exchanged, the fracas ended.
In an interview with NY1 Noticias, Efrain Galicia, the protester who briefly battled the guard, accused security of “just acting like your boss Donald Trump, pulling, pushing Jorge Ramos of Univision” — a reference to Trump’s curt dismissal of Ramos, the well-known Univision news anchor, from a press conference last week.
“This man thinks he can do whatever he wants in this country,” Galicia said, “and we’re going to stop him.”
The Trump campaign told the New York Times that the guard was “jumped from behind” and that the campaign would “likely be pressing charges.” CNN’s MJ Lee reported via Twitter that the protester involved in the scuffle said he’ll press charges. Lee also reported that an NYPD officer at the scene was told “conflicting stories” about the scuffle and that “no formal complaint has been filed” as of Wednesday evening.
Trump, who is leading the GOP presidential field amid a recent surge from retired pediatric neurosurgeon Ben Carson, is not viewed favorably by Hispanics. Earlier this week, a Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 82 percent of Hispanics view Trump unfavorably, with 68 percent doing so strongly.