Donald Trump holds a rally in the South Bronx in bid to woo home town

24 May 2024, 03:24

Election 2024 Trump
Election 2024 Trump. Picture: PA

Mr Trump addressed supporters in Crotona Park.

Former president Donald Trump has campaigned in one of the most Democratic counties in the nation by holding a rally in the South Bronx.

Mr Trump addressed supporters in Crotona Park, days before a Manhattan jury begins deliberations on whether to convict him of felony charges in his criminal hush money trial.

The area is among the city’s most diverse and Mr Trump cast himself as a better president for black and Hispanic voters than Joe Biden as he railed against his rival’s immigration policies.

Election 2024 Trump
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump gather during a campaign rally in the Bronx borough of New York (Yuki Iwamura/AP)

He insisted “the biggest negative impact” of the influx of migrants in New York is “against our black population and our Hispanic population who are losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose. They’re the ones that are affected most by what’s happening.”

The former president opened his rally with an ode to his home town, talking about its humble beginnings as a small Dutch trading post before becoming a glamorous capital of culture that “inspired the entire world”.

While Mr Trump established residency in Florida in 2019, he reminisced on Thursday about his efforts to revitalise Central Park’s Wollman Rink and people he knew in the real estate business.

“Everyone wanted to be here,” he said. “But sadly, this is now a city in decline.

“If a New Yorker can’t save this country, no one can.”

Election 2024 Trump
Donald Trump arrives at the campaign rally in the South Bronx (Yuki Iwamura/AP)

The Bronx Democratic Party protested Mr Trump’s appearance with members of multiple unions wholding signs that said “The Bronx says no to Trump” in English and Spanish.

“We are used to elected officials, government officials, and opportunists of all kinds who come to our community and use our painful history,” said Democratic State Representative Amanda Septimo, who represents the South Bronx.

“They talk about the Bronx and everything that’s wrong with it, but they never get to the part that talks about what they’re going to do for the Bronx, and we know that Trump is never going to get to that part in his speech.”

Mr Trump’s campaign believes he can chip away at Mr Biden’s support among black and Hispanic voters and he has argued the indictments he faces in New York and elsewhere make him relatable to black voters frustrated by the criminal justice system, a statement that was harshly criticised by Mr Biden’s allies.

Biden
President Joe Biden (Alex Brandon/AP)

Mr Biden’s campaign on Thursday released two ads aimed at undercutting Mr Trump’s attempts to make inroads with black voters, highlighting his propagation of the “birther” conspiracy against former president Barack Obama and his calls for the death penalty for five men wrongly convicted of rape in the 1989 Central Park Five case.

The rally comes during a pause in Mr Trump’s criminal hush money trial which will resume following the Memorial Day weekend with closing arguments.

The jury will then decide whether Mr Trump will become the first former president in the nation’s history to be criminally convicted and whether he will be the first major party presidential candidate to run as a convicted felon.

The Bronx was once the most Democratic borough in the city. Barack Obama won 91.2% of the borough’s vote in 2012, the highest in the state. Mr Biden won 83.5% of the borough in 2020. Mr Trump garnered only 16% of the vote.

The area Mr Trump visited is overwhelmingly non-white — a departure from most of his rally locations. According to the US Census data, about 65% of residents are Hispanic and 31% Black. About 35% live below the poverty line.

By Press Association

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