Sunset Park Councilmember Carlos Menchaca is pushing to ban former President Donald J. Trump’s name from appearing on buildings throughout the city — arguing that the sight of his moniker could be traumatic for some residents.
“You simply cannot have an insurrectionist and white supremacist sympathizer’s name prominently displayed in the greatest city in the world,” he said. “New Yorkers should not be forced to see the name of an insurrectionist, white supremacist sympathizer where we shop, live, and work.”
Menchaca, a Democrat who’s running in the upcoming mayoral election, is working with the Department of Buildings to adjust the city’s Building Code statute regulating “appropriateness” and “quality of life” to ban the former president’s name, according to spokeswoman Jen Schneider.
If Menchaca’s efforts are successful, Trump will have his name erased from the facades of 10 New York City buildings: eight in Manhattan, one in Queens, and one in the Bronx. Buildings that are named after other members of the Trump family — such as Coney Island’s Trump Village named after Fred Trump — would not be affected by the rule, Schneider said.
The regulation, in addition to providing psychological benefits, could also save taxpayer dollars, Menchaca argued. The city spent $150 million on security for Trump Tower throughout his four-year term, installing barricades and stationing officers around the tower. Security costs have plummeted since Trump lost the November election, but having his name affixed to the tower may still draw violence, posing a threat to public safety, the pol said.
The proposal follows calls from activists for the removal of other controversial names and figures across the borough. In December, local activists demanded the removal of a Christopher Columbus statue in Downtown Brooklyn, and over the summer, a petition called on the city to change the names of streets named after slave owners.
While many of those proposals garnered widespread support, Menchaca’s proposal has drawn some mixed reactions. On Twitter, some praised the effort to erase the Trump name, maintaining it had a “negative vibe,” while other blasted the effort as vapid symbolism.
“Please do something useful with your time Councilman,” wrote Avery Pereiera, a Republican Sunset Park activist and district leader. “This is a waste of time and our focus should be on the struggling people in our community.”
Still, Menchaca emphasized the potential of the Trump “ban” to usher in a new, reconciliatory era.
“Much like the removal of confederate statues helped turn the page on a dark period in our history, so would the removal of Donald Trump’s name from New York City buildings,” he said.