Visitors and employees evacuated Trump Tower on Tuesday after reports of a suspicious package in the lobby. Those who evacuated the building flooded the streets surrounding the Fifth Ave tower. Police closed off some of the busiest streets in the area for about an hour while dealing with the report. Trump was in Florida with his family at the time of the incident. Stephen Davis, a police department spokesman, said in an e-mail statement to NY Times:
“The current heightened security awareness in this area clearly drew much more attention to yesterday’s incident. This was not a threat or even a mock device but rather an apparent case of a child’s backpack being left inadvertently near the building.”
After following protocol for dealing with a suspicious package, police determined that there was no threat. The item in question was a backpack filled with children’s toys. While it is fortunate that there was no real threat, the incident shows just how frantic things can become.
Once the threat was cleared, the tower reopened around 5:30 p.m. and normal activities resumed. Many were unaware of the incident at first as only the lobby area was evacuated but not the upper floors. Trump’s new press secretary tweeted that officials were back to work following the false alarm and thanked the NYPD.
Eric Phillips, press secretary for Mayor Bill de Blasio, sent a tweet in reply saying, “No problem, we’ll send you the bill.” The mayor originally requested that the federal government reimburse New York’s $35 million to protect the president-elect until his inauguration. At this point in time, government officials have reportedly set aside $7 million. Austin Finan, a spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said on Wednesday:
“Yesterday’s incident is another reminder of the new reality the N.Y.P.D. and New Yorkers face in this postelection period. While complex security challenges are nothing new for the N.Y.P.D., the scope of this task and its associated responsibilities is unprecedented. Protecting the president-elect is inherently a national responsibility for which New York City shouldn’t be left to foot the bill.”
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