Shortly after Donald Trump announced from Trump Tower that he had reached an agreement with the Republican National Committee to support the party's eventual nominee for the general election, a man in a white cloak styled after a Ku Klux Klan robe was forcibly pushed away from in front of the massive Midtown Manhattan building. The aggressor was wearing a suit and tie and a Trump button pinned to his lapel. The protester, who said he was an undocumented immigrant, soon began yelling his version of the Republican front-runner's campaign slogan.
"MAKE AMERICA RACIST AGAIN!" the man, who declined to identify himself out of fear of legal retribution, chanted while holding a poster bearing the same words he was repeating. The chant, a play on Trump's "Make America Great Again," was apparently targeting Trump's incendiary comments about Latin American immigrants. The commotion drew a passionate response from passers-by, and a crowd soon formed that blocked the wide eastern side of Fifth Avenue.
A man who said he was a native of the Dominican Republic and became a legal resident in the U.S. interrupted the hooded protester, identifying himself as a Trump supporter. A third man, walking by, then began yelling at the protester, denouncing immigrants who come to the United States illegally. He said his family was from Egypt and that they, too, had moved to the States through legal avenues.
The protest drew the interest of TV news crews who were there to cover Trump's announcement, and his campaign and corporate staff looked flustered.
Soon, things got even more heated. When more protesters showed up with large signs and set up shop in front of the entrance to Trump Tower, Trump employees attempted to get them to move. Minutes later, a scuffle broke out between the two sides after a sign was snatched from one of the protesters.
People dressed up as KKK outside Trump Tower. This man said he is from Mexico and this is to protest Trump pic.twitter.com/IeIFNq07IH
— MJ Lee (@mj_lee) September 3, 2015
Mexican protestors outside Trump Tower, some dressed as KKK to parody Trump's "racist" talk they say pic.twitter.com/HQKaNVexAZ
— Noah Gray CNN (@NoahGrayCNN) September 3, 2015
And here's a trump supporter from the Dominican Republic interrupting the kkk protester pic.twitter.com/9IsAHxSugQ
— Clark Mindock (@ClarkMindock) September 3, 2015
Donald Trump, the current 2016 Republican front-runner, has built his candidacy around the immigration issue and advocates securing the Mexican border with a wall. Along the way he's sparked outrage for calling for the deportation of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country and for referring to Mexicans as rapists and criminals.
In the press conference earlier Thursday, Trump was asked by a reporter about a study that indicated undocumented immigrants were no more likely to commit crimes, including rape, than average Americans.
"I made some very strong statements about the crime" of being an undocumented immigrant, Trump responded in part, "and I've been proven right."
Jaime Gonzalez, a legal resident who was at the protest, resented the implication. "I'm here to say I'm a cook," said Gonzalez, a 48-year-old cook in Manhattan who lives in Queens. "The only thing I might rape would be a carrot or potato, but definitely not a woman," he said.