Protesters hold signs as they protest at Trump Tower in New York City on Monday. Thousands crowded the streets around the tower before and as President Donald Trump returned to Manhattan Monday night. Photo by John Angelillo/UI | License Photo
Aug. 15 (UPI) -- For the first time since taking office, President Donald Trump returned to New York City late Monday -- where he was met by thousands of protesters outside Trump Tower.
Trump arrived in Lower Manhattan via helicopter shortly before 9 p.m. Monday and was taken by motorcade to his Midtown tower, which houses office and residential space.
The New York Times reported thousands of protesters camped outside of Trump Tower for hours awaiting his arrival -- waving signs, chanting and marching to express disapproval, particularly for his response to last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Va.
People chanted "shame!" as Trump arrived, but he avoided a larger confrontation because his limousine avoided Fifth Avenue and pulled into Trump Tower by driving the wrong way on a cordoned one-way street.
"Feels good to be home after seven months, but the White House is very special, there is no place like it... and the U.S. is really my home!" Trump wrote on Twitter late Monday.
CNN reported that a small group of Trump supporters also gathered near the tower.
Earlier Monday, the president traveled to Washington, D.C., from his golf resort in New Jersey in the middle of a 17-day vacation. Trump said he went to New York City for meetings on military purchases and trade.
Trump's return to the White House came amid criticism for his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday -- in which a woman died after being run over by a protester.
James Alex Fields, Jr., is accused of killing 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer by plowing his Dodge Challenger into a crowd who were demonstrating against white nationalist rallies there. The car also hit other pedestrians.
Some of the protesters in New York City chanted, "No KKK, No Fascist USA, No Trump!"
Trump on Monday said "evil" racists who use violence -- such as the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists -- are "criminals and thugs."
The automobile attack Saturday came shortly after authorities called off the planned white nationalist "Unite the Right" rally, which was set up to protest against the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials from public spaces.
Hundreds of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan gathered in downtown Charlottesville as tensions escalated and counter-protesters rallied in attempts to shut down the "Unite the Right" rally.