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Trump back in NY for first time since leaving office

The former US president - who now resides at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, but maintains his luxury residence atop Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue - was only seen briefly upon his arrival late on Sunday.

A small group of supporters of former President Donald Trump hold a rally in front of Trump Tower on 8 March 2021 in New York City. Trump, who has recently moved his official residency to Florida from New York, was back in Manhattan for a few days. Picture: Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP

NEW YORK - Former US president Donald Trump returned to his native New York on Monday for the first time since leaving the White House more than six weeks ago.

Trump - who now resides at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, but maintains his luxury residence atop Trump Tower on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue - was only seen briefly upon his arrival late on Sunday.

A photo in the New York Post showed him waving through the back window of his black SUV - at the lone supporter who was on the street to greet him.

At midday on Monday, about 20 Trump supporters rallied peacefully at the base of the glitzy skyscraper - surrounded by dozens of police officers.

Some carried signs saying "We Love Trump", while others had a giant Trump 2024 flag.

"For the last two weeks, Donald Trump has been teasing us about running" once again for the presidency in 2024, said one of the rally organisers, Dion Cini.

"So now we're challenging his tease. We want him to run in 2024. So, no more teasing - let's get serious. We want Trump to run for '24, we want a two-term Trump."

Cini - clad in a "Make America Great Again" baseball cap - kept his eyes riveted on the upper floors of Trump Tower, in the hopes of catching even a fleeting glimpse of Trump or his sons Don Jr and Eric.

No one in the group knew if the 74-year-old Trump planned to come down and greet them, as he has done in the past in similar situations.

The real estate mogul's reasons for returning to the Big Apple - a Democratic bastion easily won by Joe Biden in the November election - are for now unknown to the public. His office did not issue a statement or a schedule.

When asked about the visit, the Secret Service, which protects former US presidents, did not offer any information.

On social media, some Trump detractors said they hoped to see the ex-leader run into trouble with the law: the Manhattan district attorney and the New York state attorney general are conducting parallel investigations of the billionaire on suspicion of possible bank fraud, tax evasion or insurance fraud.

In late February, after a long legal battle, the office of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance said it had finally received years of Trump's tax returns, after the Supreme Court rejected a last-ditch bid by Trump's lawyers to block the move.

But it is not clear when the investigations might wrap up, or if Trump will eventually be indicted.

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