A man waving a “Make America Great Again” flag with “Trump 2024” at a crowded Central Park skating rink in support of former President Donald Trump Sunday was tackled by staffers and removed from the area by police.
Videos emerged early this week showing a man, later identified as pro-Trump provocateur Dion Cini, being swarmed by several staffers and members of the public as he waved a large “MAGA” flag around New York City’s Wollman Rink. The Trump Organization has owned the Central Park skating rink in partnership with the city since the mid-1980s. City officials had initially said Sunday would be the final day of skating at both Central Park rinks, Wollman and Lasker, as they sever city contract ties with the former president’s company. The MAGA-hat-wearing man surreptitiously unfurled the flag on the side of the rink before drawing the attention of staff and bystanders by skating around with it.
Newsweek reached out to the park operator about why specifically he was stopped but did not hear back in time for publication.
But just hours before the man’s flag-waving stunt Sunday, a spokesperson for Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city rink would in fact remain open for the rest of the winter season.
Several video angles appear to show the man skating around the park with the large flag for a few minutes before staff members in red coats can be seen approaching him and attempting to nudge Cini to the side of the rink. “Get the f**k off me,” he can be heard yelling before being leveled to the ice by several people.
Cheers could be heard as Cini and the flag went down on the ice, although one concerned adult could be seen grabbing their child and pleading with everyone to avoid violence.
The incident occurred on what was supposed to be the skating rink’s abrupt final day of operation before that plan was reversed over criticism it would only hurt the city’s children and families.
“Trump has been impeached from operating the ice rink,” a de Blasio spokesperson said last week. “New York City kids deserve all the time on the ice they can get this year. But make no mistake, we will not be doing business with the Trump Organization going forward. Inciting an insurrection will never be forgotten or forgiven.”
Trump was touted for stepping in to revamp that area of Central Park in the mid-1980s, with then-Mayor Ed Koch commending the real estate developer at its opening ceremony more than 30 years ago. “Donald, you performed a great public service,” Koch said at the time. The city had spent six years and $12 million attempting to redevelop that dilapidated portion of the park before Trump saw an opportunity to bypass local politicians, as he described in The Art of the Deal.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from dealing with politicians over the years it’s that the only thing guaranteed to force them into action is the press, or more specifically, fear of the press,” Trump wrote of the skating rink deal in his 1987 book.
Executive vice president of the Trump Organization, Eric Trump, released a statement Sunday rebuking city officials for severing decades of business ties over the former president’s alleged culpability in the January 6 Capitol riots.
“This is purely a political stunt that only hurts New Yorkers. Instead of focusing on a dying city which everyone is leaving because of rising crime, high taxes, closed businesses and totally incompetent leadership, the Mayor is painting signs in front of Trump Tower and trying to destroy the only outdoor activity available to children during a pandemic. When does this nonsense stop. What are the priorities of our city? This leaves another 250 incredible people out of work in New York, a city with soaring unemployment. Why – to try and get back at a person who sits on a different side of the political aisle who now lives in Florida. Let’s cancel kids hockey programs, skating schools and shut them down 6 weeks early… that will show Trump.”
Newsweek reached out to de Blasio’s office for any additional remarks regarding the incident Tuesday afternoon.
Originally published at https://www.newsweek.com/nyc-man-waving-trump-maga-flag-central-park-ice-skating-rink-removed-police-1571381 on .