Trump to stage rare NYC rally in the highly Democratic South Bronx

Former president to hold Big Apple rally in one of bluest congressional districts in nation

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Thursday 23 May 2024 15:38
Donald Trump to hold Bronx rally

With his travel schedule hampered by the Manhattan hush money criminal trial and daily court requirements, Donald Trump has had to get creative with campaigning ahead of the 2024 election.

The former president is set to hold a rally in New York, his first in the Empire State in eight years, and not in a MAGA stronghold like the rural north, western region or even the borough of Staten Island. Mr Trump is heading to the South Bronx — one of the most Democrat parts of the country.

The Trump campaign has filed a permit for a 3,500-person gathering in Crotona Park at 6pm on Thursday 23 May. This will be the former president’s first rally in New York since 2016 when his supporters gathered upstate in Buffalo.

He is expected to use the rally to talk about the economy, crime rates, and the migrant crisis. “New Yorkers have suffered greatly thanks to Biden’s failed policies,” the Trump campaign said, announcing the event.

Mr Trump has been largely kept to New York City for the past month as he faces 34 counts of falsifying business records to allegedly cover up hush money payments to adult film star, Stormy Daniels, to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. He has pleaded not guilty. Jury instructions will soon be revealed and a verdict could come as soon as the end of next week.

Donald Trump carries boxes of pizza for the FDNY Engine 2, Battalion 8 firehouse on May 02, 2024 in New York City
Donald Trump carries boxes of pizza for the FDNY Engine 2, Battalion 8 firehouse on May 02, 2024 in New York City (Getty Images)

Mr Trump has nevertheless been busy, recording radio interviews from Trump Tower; stopping by a bodega in Harlem and a construction site on Park Avenue for photo-ops; and handing out pizzas to firefighters.

The former president has made bashing New York a feature of his on-camera and Truth Social rants, claiming that crime is out of control and that “employers of millions of people” are leaving the state because of his civil and criminal prosecutions. On Tuesday he even claimed people were being “mugged and killed outside” the courthouse.

While Mr Trump is a native New Yorker, he is not exactly its favourite son. He maintains a following, as he does anywhere he goes, but the 2020 election results show that President Joe Biden won the city with 76.2 per cent of the vote.

The former president did win Staten Island with 56.9 per cent of the ballots cast, and there are parts of south Brooklyn where he remains popular. But the rest of the city is varying shades of Democrat blue.

Mr Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, on May 11, 2024
Mr Trump arrives at a campaign rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, on May 11, 2024 (AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden won Manhattan with 86.4 per cent of the vote, which has led Mr Trump to baselessly claim that he can’t get a fair trial in the borough. Mr Biden also won the Bronx with 83.3 per cent; Brooklyn with 76.8 per cent; and Queens with 72 per cent.

In the wider tristate area, neighbouring New Jersey and Connecticut are also solidly blue states. However, the former president pulled a significant crowd in Wildwood, New Jersey on 11 May. His campaign claimed that 80-100,000 people were in attendance although that number has been widely disputed, with even Fox News saying it was closer to 30,000.

In a wild, vengeful speech at the Jersey Shore where he attacked President Biden and Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, Mr Trump also showered praise on “the late, great Hannibal Lecter”, the fictional serial killer from The Silence of the Lambs.

Mr Trump has also claimed his team is planning a rally at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan. Any indication that is happening is yet to materialise.

The US representative for the South Bronx, Ritchie Torres, wrote a scathing opinion piece in the New York Daily News ahead of the former president’s arrival in the borough, calling him “odious” and “dangerously delusional” for pretending to be a friend to the Bronx given his record of “waging war on the American poor [and] targeting anti-poverty programs”.

Rep Torres wrote: “The Bronx is the bluest county in America. Is Trump so arrogant as to believe that he is the one Republican who can compete in the bluest Congressional District? In answering that question, one must be reminded of who Trump is: a malignant narcissist with boundless delusions of grandeur.”

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