NY DAILY NEWS – President Trump is ditching Thursday’s opening of the Statue of Liberty museum because he doesn’t want to face a tough crowd and plans to stay at the White House to roll out a right-wing immigration plan instead, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The sources told the Daily News that the White House was nearly all set on having Trump attend the Liberty Island shindig, which comes after two years of museum construction estimated to have cost $100 million.
Secret Service officials swarmed the island last week to make security arrangements for the president, with tentative plans calling for New York harbor to be shut down between 10 a.m. and noon Thursday, according to the sources.
But the White House backed off late last week after realizing Trump was likely not going to be well received by the heavily Democratic crowd, a source close the event said.
Among the names on the extravagant guest list are Trump nemeses like Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, Rep. Jerry Nadler and Sen. Chuck Schumer as well as liberal New York socialites like Diane von Fürstenberg, who’s a member of the new museum’s board.
“These are not people who want to be seen with the president, period,” the source close to the event said. “Reality came to pass and the White House realized that they didn’t need (to attend).”
Moreover, Thursday’s event is expected to focus on the benefits of immigration, which would likely shine a less-than-flattering spotlight on Trump’s own pugnacious immigrant-bashing rhetoric.
Trump’s Interior Department secretary, David Bernhardt, will also skip the event, a source said.
A White House official declined to comment beyond saying that Trump isn’t scheduled to attend the museum opening.
Instead, Trump is expected to stay in Washington to unveil a hard-line immigration plan that his administration is hoping to pass through Congress.
Back in New York, Democrats and other guests are expected to take in the spectacular, 26,000-square-foot museum on Liberty Island Thursday.
The museum houses Lady Liberty’s original torch and other artifacts and will be open to anyone who comes to the island, with admission included in the price of the ferry ticket.
From the outside, the museum’s glass walls and copper-colored roof appear to be rising out of the earth, with a giant staircase rising to a rooftop terrace at the center.