‘It was a lovefest’, Donald Trump claims ‘winning over’ Democrat bastion of South Bronx with huge turnout - Hindustan Times
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‘It was a lovefest’, Donald Trump claims ‘winning over’ Democrat bastion of South Bronx with huge turnout

May 24, 2024 11:12 AM IST

'It was a lovefest', Donald Trump celebrates response to his rally in a non-white neighbourhood of South Bronx in New York.

Former US President Donald Trump held a raucous rally in the South Bronx on Thursday. He wanted to target one of the most Democratic counties in the nation to appeal to minority voters and the response, he says, was a massive win for the campaign.

Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in the South Bronx in New York City on May 23, 2024. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)(AFP)
Former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in the South Bronx in New York City on May 23, 2024. (Photo by Jim WATSON / AFP)(AFP)

The event in Crotona Park marked his first major campaign stop in New York since 2016, just days before a Manhattan jury is set to deliberate on felony charges in his criminal hush money trial.

Trump addressed a lively crowd that included significant numbers of Black and Hispanic supporters. He positioned himself as a better advocate for minority communities than President Joe Biden, especially on issues like immigration. Despite the park’s capacity of 3,500, thousands more gathered outside.

"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," Trump declared, prompting chants of “Build the wall” from the audience.

As he wrapped up his speech, Trump said he woke up Thursday uncertain of the reception he'd get in the Bronx.

"I said, ‘I wonder, will it be hostile or will it be friendly?’" he said. "It was beyond friendly. It was a lovefest.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 23: Supporters of former President Donald Trump watch as he holds a rally in the historical Democratic district of the South Bronx on May 23, 2024 in New York City. The Bronx, home to a large Latino community, has been a Democratic base for generations of voters and the rally comes as Trump looks to attract more non-white voters.(Getty Images via AFP)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 23: Supporters of former President Donald Trump watch as he holds a rally in the historical Democratic district of the South Bronx on May 23, 2024 in New York City. The Bronx, home to a large Latino community, has been a Democratic base for generations of voters and the rally comes as Trump looks to attract more non-white voters.(Getty Images via AFP)

Significance of Trump's high turnout in South Bronx

The Bronx has been the most Democratic borough in New York city. Barack Obama won 91.2% of the borough's vote in 2012, the highest in the state. Biden won 83.5% of the borough in 2020. Trump garnered only 16% of the vote.

Protests were also present, with the Bronx Democratic Party holding a counter-event and union members carrying signs reading “The Bronx says no to Trump.” Democratic State Rep. Amanda Septimo criticized Trump’s visit, accusing him of exploiting the community’s struggles without offering solutions.

The area Trump visited is overwhelmingly non-white with about 65% of residents are Hispanic and 31% Black, according to the U.S. Census data. About 35% live below the poverty line.

Trump's election campaign in New York

This rally was part of a series of local events Trump has planned while confined to New York for his trial. Over the past six weeks, he has visited a Harlem bodega, a construction site, and a firehouse, but the Bronx rally was his first open to the general public.

“The strategy is to show the voters of the Bronx and New York that this isn’t your typical presidential election,” said Florida Republican Rep. Byron Donalds, a potential running mate who spoke at the rally. “Donald Trump is here to represent everybody and get our country back on track.”

In his speech, Trump criticized Biden’s handling of New York City’s issues, including the poor conditions of the subway system, the presence of discarded needles, and the challenges posed by migrants. "Joe Biden is not getting the job done for the Bronx," Trump asserted. “Our subways are squalid and unsafe, the ceiling tiles are falling down, and they look worse than a Third World country.”

Protestors demonstrate outside US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in the South Bronx in New York City on May 23, 2024. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)(AFP)
Protestors demonstrate outside US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign rally in the South Bronx in New York City on May 23, 2024. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)(AFP)

As thousand gather to meet Trump, mixed response from Bronx residents

Even as many locals supported Trump’s message there were protests against him too. Margarita Rosario, a longtime Bronx resident, and Muhammad Ali, a Bangladeshi immigrant, expressed their frustration with the current administration and their belief in Trump’s ability to improve their economic situations.

Some protesters held banners saying, “The Bronx says no to Trump”, accusing him of exploiting the community’s struggles without offering solutions.

Trump’s campaign believes he can erode Biden's support among Black and Hispanic voters, particularly younger men frustrated with their economic prospects. He has also suggested that his legal battles make him relatable to Black voters disillusioned with the criminal justice system, a claim that Biden's allies have sharply criticized..

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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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