There’s a new view from President Donald Trump’s New York City apartment. Painted in giant yellow letters on the street below Trump Tower are the words “Black Lives Matter,” one of seven similar murals painted on sites throughout the city at the behest of Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City,” Julia Arredondo, a spokesperson for the mayor, told the when the plan was unveiled last month. “Any time [Trump] wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter.”
Outside of Trump Tower, on Fifth Avenue between East 56th and 57th streets, the mayor himself took a paint roller to the streets to help create the massive art project. He was assisted by Al Sharpton and First Lady Chirlane McCray, as well as 20 local artists and volunteers from the youth organization Street Corner Resources.
If the gesture is, as some Twitter users suggested, an attempt to troll the president, Trump took the bait.
“NYC is cutting Police $’s by ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and yet the @NYCMayor is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue,” Trump wrote on Twitter, urging the cops not to “let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street.”
De Blasio responded to the president’s tweet in his remarks during the painting. “President Trump said we would be denigrating the luxury of Fifth Avenue. Let me tell you: we’re not denigrating anything, we are liberating Fifth Avenue, we are uplifting Fifth Avenue,” de Blasio said. “When we say ‘Black Lives Matter’ there is no more American statement, there’s no more patriotic statement, because there is no America without Black America.”
Other versions of the work have been painted in cities across the country, starting in Washington, DC, just two blocks from the White House. Other cities publicly declaring their support for the movement for racial justice with the murals include Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Raleigh, Austin, Cincinnati, Seattle, and Chicago.
In addition to those commissioned by New York’s mayor, the city’s other Black Lives Matter murals include a colorful one on Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard in Harlem, curated by artist LeRone Wilson, who enlisted seven other artists—Jason Wallace, Omo Misha, Guy Stanley Philoche, Lesny Felix, Thomas Heath, Dianne Smith, and Joyous Pierce—to join him in designing two letters each for the display.
The Trump Tower pavement mural’s installation coincided with a Supreme Court ruling against the president, which found that Trump must release his financial records to New York prosecutors.