Donald Trump left Florida on Monday for New York where he will surrender to criminal charges, taking the United States into uncharted and potentially volatile territory.
The 76-year-old Republican, the first American president ever to be criminally indicted, will be formally charged Tuesday over hush money paid to a porn star during the 2016 election campaign.
Dozens of people, many waving pro-Trump banners and American flags, lined the route as Trump’s motorcade raced from his Florida mansion to the airport where he boarded his private Boeing 757 emblazoned with his name on the fuselage.
Trump was seen waving to the press as he boarded the plane, bound for the city where he made his name, and where he hopes to use his appearance before a judge to rouse support for his 2024 White House bid.
“HEADING TO NEW YORK. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!!!,” Trump posted on his social media platform Truth Social, minutes before he took off at 1 pm (1700 GMT).
“WITCH HUNT, as our once great Country is going to HELL!”
New York police were on high alert ahead of Trump’s arrival, with security cordons and Secret Service agents outside Trump Tower and the criminal court where he will appear before a judge Tuesday afternoon.
New York Mayor Eric Adams warned that anyone protesting violently during Trump’s historic arraignment will be “arrested and held accountable, no matter who you are.”
“While there may be some rabble rousers thinking about coming to our city tomorrow our message is clear, is simple: ‘control yourselves’,” the mayor told a press conference, adding that there were no specific, credible threats.
As part of his arraignment, Trump will undergo the standard booking procedure of being fingerprinted and photographed, likely to result in one of the most famous mugshots of the modern era.
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