Hundreds of people demonstrated against the nearly $1.5 trillion Senate Republicans’ tax overhaul Saturday outside a midtown restaurant where President Donald Trump is holding a fundraiser.
The demonstrators, organized by the New York State Democratic Party and unions representing teachers and health care workers, held signs decrying the Senate passage of the tax bill early this morning and changes to Obamacare. Some chanted “Corporate greed has got to go!” and “New York hates you, lock him up!”
Trump was holding a fundraiser for his re-election at the midtown restaurant Cipriani on 42nd Street, across from Grand Central Terminal.
Trump celebrated the Senate passage with a morning tweet: “Biggest Tax Bill and Tax Cuts in history just passed in the Senate. Now these great Republicans will be going for final passage. Thank you to House and Senate Republicans for your hard work and commitment!”
Scores of NYPD officers and sanitation trucks, used as a security buffer, lined 42nd Street outside the restaurant, where attendees waited to get inside.
Across the street, outside Grand Central, protesters chanted and waved signs.
Lisa Goldberg of Manhattan, a private-school teacher, said she joined the protest because she believes the tax bill was approved without enough public discussion of its provisions.
“These are exactly the people that will benefit from the tax cut,” said Goldberg, 43, pointing to fundraiser attendees waiting to get inside. “It’s satisfying to show our rage in general, but to these people in particular.”
Holly Dannunzio, in the city from Seattle for business, said she planned to spend her day Christmas shopping, but heard the protest chants from her hotel room so instead made a small sign that read “Believe in truth” and “GOP=Gangster” and joined the rally.
“The whole thing was designed to give corporations tax cuts ... it benefits the top tenth of 1 percent the most, so it’s the very, very wealthy that get the most benefit,” said Dannunzio, a self-described independent voter who works in finance. “It’s actually a tax increase for others. And who knows what they threw in it last night.”
Trump also had some fans who gathered outside to see him.
Jessi Byrd, a hairstylist and makeup artist from Dothan, Alabama, was going to see the Rockettes perform with her family, but stopped in time to see the president’s motorcade departing.
“It was absolutely awesome,” said Byrd, 23, moments after he passed.
Byrd said she voted for Trump and was pleased the tax bill was on the verge of becoming law.
“It’s going to be good,” she said. “He’s done a lot in the first 10 months of his presidency.”