On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump was going to vote in Manhattan under the whistles. Four years later, the unpopularity of the New York businessman in his hometown turned into open war, with verbal battles, budget cuts and multiple legal attacks.
As the presidential election approaches, the Republican president attacks the first American metropolis, the Democratic stronghold, almost daily. “New York, California, Illinois: People fleeing, taxes and crime skyrocket, VOTE TRUMP, I'm going to change that, and quickly,” he tweeted Monday, before adding Tuesday, “New York. Vote Trump, that (hell!) do you have to lose? "
In the debate against Joe Biden last Thursday, he called New York a "ghost town" - seen the thousands of well-off residents who have left and office districts deserted for fear of the coronavirus.
“Look at what is happening to my wonderful city. For years I loved it, it was vibrant - now it's dying, everyone is leaving New York,” he said.
"The only ghost town will be Mar-a-Lago (Trump's Florida residence, editor's note), where you will be forced into retirement after the election," Democratic mayor Bill de Blasio retorted on Twitter, while New- Yorkers joked by posting memes and photos of busy streets.
Donald Trump "is hated in this city by most people, except maybe those with the money," said Susan Levin, 74, retired this week after voting Joe Biden early.
- "Antithesis" of New York -
New York nevertheless has pro-Trump "pockets", notably on Staten Island, or in several districts of Queens and Brooklyn. In some neighborhoods with large Orthodox populations, the president's pro-Israel policies have contributed to his popularity. And the main New York police union, the SBA, is calling for him to be re-elected.
Everyone expects, however, that Donald Trump, the first New York-born American president since Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), to be rejected by an overwhelming majority by his hometown, as in 2016, when 79% of New- Yorkers voted Hillary Clinton.
The billionaire may have his name on skyscrapers and hotels in Manhattan, having designed the reality TV show "The Apprentice" which made him known in the country, the New York elites "never have it. accepted, "said Kenneth Scarlett, marketing executive in Manhattan.
Above all, "his presidency is the antithesis of everything New York stands for - openness and people of all backgrounds working together for the common good," says Matt Eldridge, 33, an economist.
As soon as he arrived at the White House, Donald Trump instigated a hardening of migration. New York, like other large Democratic cities, declared itself a "sanctuary" city, refusing to collaborate with the ICE migration police. The Trump administration retaliated by announcing the withdrawal of certain federal subsidies, the start of a legal saga.
Today, there are many other disputes between Donald Trump and New York authorities, including the Manhattan prosecutor's battle to obtain the president's tax returns.
In this context, the Republican's visits to New York have become extremely rare: the president prefers his golf club in New Jersey to his luxurious triplex in the Trump Tower. The 5th Avenue skyscraper, home of the Trump Organization, has become the rallying point for many protests.
- "Spurned lover" -
The pandemic has exacerbated tensions. Hard hit in the spring, the authorities still keep "the city that never sleeps" under cover. To the chagrin of a president who wants to see the economy pick up quickly.
The mayor and the Democratic governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, have also been calling for months the president and the Republicans to replenish their coffers, in the face of the deficit in tax revenues generated by the pandemic. In vain, raising the threat of drastic reduction in public services.
If Donald Trump is re-elected, this budget feud could worsen. In September, the president placed New York on a list of "anarchist" cities, which could lead to the cancellation of other federal grants.
En cause: des homicides et fusillades en forte hausse depuis les manifestations contre les violences policières et les inégalités raciales, même si la criminalité reste faible par rapport aux années 80-90.
Dans ces conditions, personne n'imagine Donald Trump se réinstaller à New York.
Mar-a-Lago, en Floride, est devenue sa résidence officielle fin 2019. Et c'est dans cet Etat-clé qu'il a voté par anticipation samedi.
"Il est tel l'amant éconduit", selon Kenneth Scarlett. "Il voulait l'adulation de New York et, comme il ne l'a pas obtenue, il dit maintenant ne l'avoir jamais voulue".