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Former US President Donald Trump’s indictment evokes mixed reactions from New Yorkers

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New York: Donald Trump’s indictment ignited mixed responses from New Yorkers, with some hailing the development as “spectacular” while others slamming it as a “political witch hunt” from which the ex-president will emerge stronger.

A grand jury in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon voted to indict 76-year-old Trump over hush money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels in 2016, making him the first former US president to face criminal charges.

About 6.5 kilometers from the Lower Manhattan courthouses where the grand jury decided to indict Trump, the scene outside the Trump Tower in the upscale Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was sombre and quiet.

It was inside this popular Manhattan building in June 2015 when Trump descended the “golden escalators” into a crowd of supporters and media persons to announce his presidential run.

On a chilly Thursday evening, barring a couple of New York Police Department (NYPD) patrol vehicles, barricades lining the sidewalk and some reporters and camera persons, the scene outside Trump Tower was uneventful.

New Yorkers and tourists strolled by the building, some stopping only briefly to take pictures of the multi-story glass tower, which is ensconced among the world’s most luxurious brands on 5th Avenue, and that bears Trump’s name.

“As far as Trump being indicted is concerned, sure they’ll handcuff him, they’ll take a mug shot and then he will be good to go. This has made Trump’s base stronger,” New York activist Susan-Anne Miller told PTI outside the Trump Tower.

“By the time the case goes to trial, he will be President again,” she said.

She said prosecutors have a weak case against Trump. “There was no case, they were trying to find a way to work it around so that they could hold him. This is a political witch hunt and in the end, he will be proven innocent,” she said.

Miller said there will be no riots from Trump supporters in the aftermath of the indictment.

An elderly couple said it was “about time” that Trump was indicted.

“We are very excited. We hope he is indicted. We don’t want him to become President again. (The indictment and charges) are a long time coming, he is a crook,” they said.

Charle Earlston, a lawyer and veteran, said he had hoped to see more crowds of protestors and supporters outside the Trump Tower after the indictment news.

The indictment is “symbolic” of where the country is at right now, he said.

“The Democratic Party and their allies have been wanting to get Trump indicted on something, whatever it was, for the better part of about eight years now,” he said.

“This is the most ridiculous one that they could have thrown out there,” he said, referring to charges related to the hush money payments to Daniels.

“May be they want to knock him off the ballot through legal means by moving forward with this. This is just the next step of this country becoming a banana republic,” he said.

Benjamin Adams, a New Yorker, said the Trump indictment was going to divide the American people even more.

“I think the country has a lot more pressing issues at the moment than to worry about this,” he said.

His friend listed China, Russia, the US dollar and a weak economy as more pressing issues the country is facing and needed attention.

Another New Yorker termed the indictment as “spectacular” and said: “it is a long time coming”.

“He is finally going to face consequences. His base is going to get riled up about anything anyway,” he said.

Al Mason, Indian-American Trump supporter, real estate businessman and co-chair of the Trump Victory Indian-American Finance Committee, told PTI that the charges against Trump are “100 per cent political.” “Trump will emerge even stronger after this witch hunt. Never underestimate him. His poll numbers will skyrocket,” Mason said.

Both conservative and liberal media personalities had mixed reactions to the report, with left-wing users largely praising the news while conservatives criticising the announcement.

Several media outlets reported that the New York Police Department has issued a memo instructing its officers to “wear their uniforms” and be prepared to be deployed in the aftermath of the indictment. (PTI)

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