Trump supporters on streets of New York shout down protesters

Art dealer in Manhattan bar believes he has witnessed the birth of fascism

Celebrations in Times Square, Manhattan,  early on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters/Bria Webb

Celebrations in Times Square, Manhattan, early on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters/Bria Webb

 

In the early hours of Wednesday morning the shimmering skyscrapers of 6th Avenue, Manhattan, played host to Trump supporters on the streets chanting “USA, USA” and “Send them home”.

The demonstration by 100 flag-waving supporters on the New York streets near a Hilton hotel came even before Donald Trump had been formally declared president-elect.

Dissent from passersby was met by angry verbal attack. In a febrile atmosphere, uniformed police stood between Trump supporters in a mood of fevered nationalist triumphalism and opponents .

The men – and they were almost all men – wearing “Make America Great Again” baseball caps and waving banners shouted down any protesters.

Trump’s supporters were disparate. Hassidic Jews waved Israeli flags. Young white men shouted the Republican candidate’s name over and over. Anyone caught speaking ill of the new president was met with jostles and jeers.

The victors were ebullient. “We have taken back control,” said Joey, a Puerto Rican from Brooklyn, who sported a badge that read “Trump and Brexit – Power to the People.” He said: “The Brits showed us, and now it’s our turn.”

Yoel Katz was one of dozens of Orthodox Jewish Trump voters who came down to watch the final hours of the US election. The 22-year-old from Brooklyn said he had no worries about the future direction of US politics.

“Donald Trump is not a racist. He just doesn’t like bad people. He’s not against Arabs, he’s just against bad Arabs,” said Katz.

Strong leader

While Trump has singled out prominent Jews such as George Soros as part of a global economic order, many Orthodox Jews see the new president as a strong leader who will stand up against Iran in the Middle East.

Katz said he has no fears about the future under Trump. “This is America. There are cops around. I’m protected,” he said. “And he’s a daughter that’s Jewish,” Katz added, referring to Ivanka Trump.

Among the crowd were a number of younger liberal voters. Isabel (18) from New York said she was “scared” about the scene that unfolded in the minutes before Trump’s valedictory speech. “I’m Jewish, my friends are from all different ethnicities, I’m worried about what could happen now.”

Earlier in the day over a dozen Trump supporters congregated outside Trump Towers in Manhattan. Some carried copies of the constitution and Confederate-linked flags, singing “Drain the Swamp”, a reference to Washington.

Throughout the campaign, Trump attracted the disaffected. Ever since being released from prison in South Carolina last December, Xavier Quattlebaum has followed Trump across the US.

Firm convert

The 30-year-old African American was selling T-shirts with logos such as “Hillary for Prison” and “Trump that Bitch”. For months he slept mainly on the road, washing in service stations. In that time he became a firm convert to the Trump cause.

“Trump said that the mainstream media pull the smoke over your eyes. That’s when he got my vote.”

As the results rolled in, many younger voters in New York were ambivalent about the prospect of Trump in the White House. In a busy East Village bar few drinkers were watching the election results roll in on the TV.

“How much of my day-to-day life will be affected by this? I don’t think much will change,” said Alex (24), a tech worker.

At around 3am, art dealer Donald Ellis watched Trump’s victory speech in a bar just a stone’s throw from the Hilton in Manhattan. He did not like what he saw.

“I think I am witnessing the birth of fascism that I would never have imagined I would witness in my life,” said Ellis, originally from Canada but now living in uptown Manhattan. “This is fascism. I can’t believe I am witnessing this before my eyes.”