New York City plans to paint the words “Black Lives Matter” in front of Trump Tower, which the city’s mayor said is a message meant directly for the president.
The city on Wednesday announced it will paint the words on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th streets, directly in front of the flagship high-rise of Donald Trump’s company and his former home. As the New York Daily News reported, the placement of the painting is very intentional and meant as a reminder to the president of the city’s support of the movement.
“The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City,” said Julia Arredondo, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio. “He can’t run or deny the reality we are facing, and any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter.”
As the report noted, the city had already announced plans to paint the phrase throughout the city in the wake of nationwide protests that arose after the killing of George Floyd. There have been a number of demonstrations across the city calling for an end to systemic racism, and city leaders are pointing the finger at Trump for pushing racial divisions in the U.S. and failing to properly support the movement.
As The Guardian noted, New York will not be the first city to support the Black Lives Matter movement in a very direct message to Trump. Washington, D.C., Mayor Murial Bowser had the words painted across two full blocks in the city’s center.
Just days after local and federal law enforcement officials near the White House forcefully pushed out peaceful protesters so Trump could have a photo op holding a Bible in front of a church, Bowser had the plaza where the incident took place renamed “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
The Trump administration has been criticized for what many see as a hostile response to the protests and the Black Lives Matter movement in general. Trump previously took to Twitter to threaten protesters who looted stores, appearing to authorize members of the U.S. military to shoot them.
Vice President Mike Pence also drew controversy when he refused to say the words “Black Lives Matter” when pressed by a reporter, instead saying “all lives matter.” That phrase is seen by proponents of the movement as a dismissal that often carries racial undertones.