WATCH: Trump Protesters Outside Trump Tower in NYC

Thousands of protesters gathered outside of Trump Tower in New York City Monday night, as they awaited the arrival of President Donald Trump. (Video begins at 1:13)

The protesters gathered following Trump’s initial refusal to denounce white supremacy and neo-Nazism on display at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this past Saturday.

Trump was expected to travel to Manhattan Monday night, but announced he would first be returning to Washington, D.C.

NYPD officials said Monday that they are heightening security around Trump Tower in preparation for the visit.

“While this is not his first visit back to New York City, it is the first time he’s staying at his residence in Trump Tower,” said NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez. “We’ve prepared accordingly. We’ve met with the Secret Service. We prepared a sizeable ensure the area around Trump Tower is safe and secure with minimal disruption to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”

Gomez suggested that people avoid the area as gridlock will be heavy.

“We’ll also be instituting bus checkpoints at 7 p.m.,” Gomez said. “We’ll be boarding the buses, inspecting them, before they proceed down Fifth Avenue, as well as vehicle checkpoints starting at 7 p.m. They will be random. We’ll be checking inside the vehicle and trunk before they’re allowed to proceed down Fifth.”

Trump, whose initial response to the “Unite the Right” rally was viewed as too vague by many, finally was more specific about the incident Monday morning.

The president called the KKK and other white nationalist groups “repugnant” and said racism is “evil” after several days of criticism even from members of his own party.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of racist, bigoted violence. It has no place in America,” said Trump. “No matter the color of our skin, we must all live under the same laws. We all salute the same flag. We are made by the same almighty god.”