Trump courts Black, Hispanic votes in South Bronx rally: New York is ‘going red very, very quickly’

Former President Donald Trump pledged to turn New York red during a campaign rally in deep-blue South Bronx, New York, on Thursday evening as he worked to court the Hispanic and Black voters that make up a majority of the area’s population.

“I’m here tonight to declare that we are going to turn New York City around and we are going to turn it around very, very quickly,” he said to the crowd not long after taking the stage.

Several thousand Trump supporters turned up at Crotona Park in the South Bronx for the former president’s rally — on a day off from his New York hush-money trial — where he gave his pitch for his supporters in New York to get out and vote.

“If you want to help, you must vote. I believe that we can win New York State,” he said. ” We have levels of support that nobody’s seen before. … Don’t assume it doesn’t matter just because you live in a blue city. You live in a blue city, but it’s going red very, very quickly.”

Throughout his speech, which lasted around an hour and a half, the former president touched on a number of his campaign talking points, including bringing up crime in the city, his plans to deport undocumented immigrants, and praise for China’s President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It would be a challenge for Trump to take New York — a state that has voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election since 1988.

Trump’s visit on Thursday marked his fourth campaign stop in New York City during his criminal trial. In the past couple of weeks, Trump has visited a Harlem bodega, Manhattan construction site and paid tribute to first responders in midtown Manhattan.

Trump is hoping to capitalize on Black and Hispanic voters — a key demographic that the candidates need to harness for a November win.

Trump’s rally took place in New York’s 15th congressional district, a diverse and Democratic area. Anti-Trump protesters clashed with Trump supporters outside of the rally.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, more than 50% of the population in the district is Hispanic, 30% is Black or African American, and less than 10% is white.

“I’m going to make a play for New Yorkers,” Trump told reporters outside the construction site of the new JP Morgan Chase Building in Midtown, Manhattan last month. “Normally, a Democrat will win New York. Biden is the worst president in history. We have some very bad people here, but we have the greatest people and they’re right behind me. They all want us to run, and we’re going to run very hard in New York.”

President Joe Biden’s campaign on Thursday launched a series of new TV and radio ads that challenge Trump’s claims about his accomplishments for the Black community.

“Every halfhearted attempt by the Trump campaign to pander for Black and Latino votes is another reminder that the candidate who stepped into public life falsely accusing the Central Park 5, who stepped into political life by taking the racist birther movement mainstream, who consistently demonizes and dehumanizes Black and Latino communities has one true interest: regaining power so he can enact revenge on his enemies,” said Jasmine Harris, the Biden campaign’s Black media outreach director.

The New York Young Republicans are behind Trump’s visit and organized outreach, billboards and flyers promoting his event. Members of the group said they distributed nearly 2,000 flyers around the city Wednesday.

“We’re very excited because not only has this been well received, but it’s been encouraged by local people and local constituents,” said Adam Solis, chairman of the New York Young Republican Black Caucus and co-chairman of the New York Young Republican Hispanic Caucus.

Solis said he views Trump as a prominent New York fixture and that he hopes to galvanize several of his community members and neighbors.

“Every single human, warm-blooded American in this country, understood that he was the epitome of success,” Solis said of Trump. “He was an incredible businessman. He was business savvy. And if there was something that needed to get done, he could get it done.”

Crotona Park is located a few blocks away from Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s home district. Trump’s visit was anticipated to be met with a counter-demonstration led by Bronx Democrats and liberal activists at the other end of Crotona Park.

Democratic Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo, who represents the Bronx, said people “will not stand by as Donald Trump tries to distort what our community and its residents represent. Instead, we will come together and tell our own story.”

New York is a Democratic stronghold – joining California and Illinois – with the plurality of voters in New York State registered with the Democratic Party.

In another layer of drama to Thursday evening, thunderstorms are expected in New York while both events are taking place in the Bronx.

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