A man who wanted an “audience” with Donald Trump attempted to scale the all-glass facade of Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday using large suction cups, prompting a large police response before he was finally pulled inside by authorities.
The climber, later identified by police as a 20-year-old Virginia man, had a backpack and used a harness and rope stirrups to fasten himself to the side of the 58-story Manhattan skyscraper for the nearly 3-hour climb.
The climber reached the 21st floor before he was nabbed by police officers who removed a section of a window from the building in order to reach him.
“I reached out. I took hold of his hand and I said, ‘Sir, would you come with me,'” said detective Christopher Williams, who made the grab.
Police officers smashed windows and broke through a ventilation duct on lower portions of the building in an attempt to block his progress.
Officers also lowered themselves towards him using a window washer’s platform.
The climber however continued to elude authorities by methodically working his way across the facade and angled corners of the building.
He was speaking with officers through the holes cut in the side of the building, and when when would-be rescuers smashed a window above him, he ducked to avoid big shards of glass that fell.
A day before the ascent, police said the climber posted a video on YouTube entitled, “Message to Mr.Trump (why I climbed your tower).”
“I am an independent researcher seeking a private audience with you to discuss an important matter. I guarantee that it’s in your interest to honor this request,” he said. “Believe me, if my purpose was not significant, I would not risk my life pursuing it. The reason I climbed your tower is to get your attention. If I had sought this via conventional means, I would be much less likely to have success because you are a busy man with many responsibilities.”
NYPD Assistant Chief William Aubrey said the man, who was not named by police, told officers the same thing after he was safely inside the building.
“At no time did he express that he wanted to hurt anybody,” he said.
Police deployed large, inflated crash pads at the scene but made initial attempts to grab him as he passed nearby.
Witnesses said the man started climbing Donald Trump’s namesake skyscraper at about 4 p.m.
The city’s emergency notification system sent out an alert that “Due to police activity, expect extensive traffic delays in the area of East 56th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan,” Fox 5 reported.
The tower is headquarters to Donald Trump’s Republican presidential campaign and his business empire.
Trump also lives there, though he was in Virginia in the afternoon for a campaign event and was headed to Florida for an evening event.
He thanked police for their responce in a tweet, writing “Great job today by the NYPD in protecting the people and saving the the climber.”
“This man performed a ridiculous and dangerous stunt,” Michael Cohen, executive Vice President in the Trump Organization, said in a statement. “There’s damage to the building and he caused the unnecessary deployment of New York’s finest to protect his safety and the safety of everyone in the building. He’s caused the shutdown of traffic on Fifth Avenue. I’m 100 percent certain the NYPD had better things to do. If Mr. Trump were here he’d be thanking law enforcement for the job they’re doing.”
Terraces and other parts of the building are open to the public during the day.