A charity invited four refugees to stay at President Trump’s childhood home in Queens, New York, for the weekend in a publicity stunt to pressure Trump and other world leaders to admit more refugees.
International aid agency Oxfam rented the Tudor-style home where Trump lived until he was four years old at a cost of $725 per night through Airbnb, Oxfam’s spokeswoman Lauren Hartnett told NPR.
“Oxfam hosted refugees at President Trump’s childhood home to declare that all people, refugees included, have the right to a safe place to call home,” Shannon Scribner, Oxfam America’s acting director for humanitarian programs and policy said in a press release.
The agency invited refugees from Somalia, Vietnam, and Syria as guests of the house to send a message to Trump and other world leaders attending the U.N. General Assembly in New York City this week that they need to do more to support refugees.
The Airbnb listing of Trump’s boyhood home has since been removed for an unspecified reason after it appeared on the site this summer.
Michael Davis, the man who leases the property from the anonymous owner he sold it to in March for $2.14 million, was the person behind the listing, the New York Times reported.
Uyen Nguyen, a refugee who fled Vietnam at the age of 10, reflected on her experience in the house after seeing a bedroom.
“The image of him sitting on that bed really brought back to me the basic commonality among humanity, in that we all just want a roof over our head,” Nyugen told CNN. “It really just reminded me that we all start in the same place.”
Eiman Ali, a refugee from Somalia who resettled in North Carolina as a toddler, another house guest, also reflected on being in the home once occupied by the current president.
“Knowing Donald Trump was here at the age of 4 makes me think about where I was at the age of 4,” said Ali according to the Associated Press. “We’re all kids who are raised to be productive citizens, who have all these dreams and hopes.”
Ali, however, added that she felt hurt by Trump’s willingness to speak out against Somalians, citing his executive order to block new visas from those hailing from six Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia.
“To have someone so outspoken against my community become the president of the United States was very eye-opening and hurtful because I have invested a lot in this country,” she said.
Trump addressed the U.N. General Assembly this week where he touted his “America First” policy and encouraged other nations to “embrace sovereignty” as a way to enhance international cooperation.
He also called for the U.S. to approach refugee settlement, specifically Syrian refugee settlement, in a way that would aid refugees and eventually allow them to return to their home countries to rebuild their lives.