Thousands Attend Trump Rally in Bronx as Trump Aims to Flip New York

Thousands attended former President Donald Trump’s rally in the Bronx on Thursday. It was his first rally in New York City since 2016. He told attendees he has a good chance of flipping New York this year, as he aims to win over voters in the blue state who are frustrated with issues like the economy and illegal immigration.

Former President Donald Trump, speaking to an ethnically diverse crowd in the South Bronx, declared on May 23 that he wants to work with Democrats to fix problems that affect all New Yorkers—but hurt minorities the most.

He said living in New York has become unaffordable for many people, and it is plagued by rising crime and deteriorating conditions.

Schools, parks, and hospitals are overrun by illegal aliens, he said, adding, “The biggest negative impact is on our black population and on our Hispanic population,” he said, his voice rising. People in those groups are losing their homes and their jobs as inflation persists.

The Republican candidate, a native New Yorker, promised that if he wins the presidency this Nov. 5, he will take action to fix those problems. That includes placing calls to New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York Mayor Eric Adams, who are both Democrats, and telling them: “I want to come back and help.”

“It doesn’t matter whether they’re Democrats or Republican, because this is about our city and our country, and it’s really about the people,” President Trump said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you are black, or brown, or white, or whatever … we are all Americans, and we are going to pull together as Americans,” he said, as the sea of faces representing various races chanted, “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

Thursday’s event drew about 7,000 to 10,000 people, city police told The Epoch Times, although online commenters estimated more than double that number.

Some protesters showed up under heavy police presence. It was unclear whether they came as a result of an effort by The Bronx Democratic Party. In a social media post, the group urged people to demonstrate against the former president, characterizing him as divisive and saying: “Trump isn’t welcome in the Bronx.”

President Trump told the audience he was pleased by the turnout, calling it a “love-fest.” But he had been uncertain whether he’d get a warm or a frosty reception in his former hometown, a Democrat-dominant city where he is standing trial on criminal charges.

The rally comes amid a pause during his criminal trial on New York business records allegations—one of four cases that he faces amid his third run for the presidency. Democrats strongly deny allegations of political motivations for the prosecutions.

New York is one of several Democrat “blue” states that the former president has declared are “in play.” He aims to flip them to Republican “red” during the 2024 presidential campaign.

But Gov. Hochul declared: “New York will never, ever support Donald Trump for president.” In an interview with CNN, she called President Trump a “ringleader” who was inviting “all his clowns” to the Bronx.

She accused him of being “just for himself,” and said people in New York “know him better than anyone.” She said New York would go “solidly for Joe Biden,” the incumbent Democrat president set to face off against President Trump in the Nov. 5 general election.

Nationwide opinion polls show President Trump and President Biden appear to be locked in a statistical dead heat, according to RealClearPolitics.

But polls also show President Biden’s support is slipping among blacks and Hispanics, and his large lead in the Empire State is eroding.

President Biden now leads President Trump in New York by about 9 percent, according to a new Siena College poll. That’s less than half the 23 percent margin that separated the two candidates in their 2020 matchup.

NTD Photo
Erica Deaver (L), 60, before a rally with former President Donald Trump in the South Bronx in New York City on May 23, 2024. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Rallygoer Erica Deavor, 60, a New Yorker originally from Jamaica, told The Epoch Times that President Trump’s rally is “the best thing to ever happen to the Bronx.”

“He stands for the American Dream,” she said, adding she perceives President Trump “loves everybody” and embraces strong anti-crime policies.

“I hope he wins New York, wins the Bronx—take it!” Ms. Deavor said. “Trump is an amazing man. He’s a great man. And all the (expletive) they put him through, and he’s still standing strong for this country, and that’s what gives us courage.”

“He’s a gift from God,” she said, “because, I’m telling you, nobody has gone through what he has been through and still be fighting for us, the American people.”

NTD Photo
Henry Casanova, 29, from the Bronx, before a rally with former President Donald Trump in the South Bronx in New York City on May 23, 2024. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Henry Casanova, a Hispanic man who says he was “born and bred in the Bronx,” was a Democrat but recently became a Trump supporter. He realized President Trump is “exposing the corruption,” Mr. Casanova told The Epoch Times. He appreciated the former president coming to the Bronx, calling his appearance there “legendary.”

“I guess he sees what’s going on—murder, kids dying all the time…it’s disgusting,” he said.

A native New Yorker, President Trump told the audience he had seen the Big Apple go through some tough times, but “I’ve never seen it quite like this.”

He listed a litany of ills: The city’s subway system is deteriorating and unsafe. Highway medians are crumbling. Sidewalks are littered with broken glass. There are “filthy encampments of drugged-out homeless people” in places where children used to play. And, he said, “We have mobs of migrants fighting our police officers and giving America the middle finger.”

The former president’s description of problems related to illegal aliens caused the crowd to chant, “Build that wall!” and “Send them Back!”

The Rev. Ruben Diaz Sr., who described himself as a black Puerto Rican, is a former New York City councilman who joined President Trump on stage briefly. Mr. Diaz, wearing a white cowboy hat, said he was a Democrat “with kinky hair and broken English” who is proud to announce his endorsement of President Trump.

“Mr. President, I want to join you in having the Bronx great again,” he said. The crowd cheered as he and President Trump clasped hands and raised them overhead.

Jeffrey Davis, who is black, said that while many people at the rally were interested in racial issues or immigration, his main reason for supporting President Trump is “saving lives.” He said his brother was the late City Councilman James E. Davis, who was slain in 2003.

“His first term there was no wars, simply put,” Mr. Davis said about President Trump. “This term, with the Biden administration, you got Ukraine against Russia, you got the Gaza wars, you got the wars over in Haiti, fighting each other… and when Trump was president, none of that was going on. So my goal is to just to save lives, human lives.”

President Trump has touted a peace-through-strength policy. During his speech, he reiterated that his critics feared that his personality would stoke the makings of World War III. But President Trump said his assertiveness made America’s potential enemies more respectful and less likely to act aggressively in other parts of the world, particularly against allies of America.

NTD Photo
Former President Donald Trump holds a rally in the South Bronx in New York City on May 23, 2024. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Gavin Wax, president of the New York Young Republican Club, told The Epoch Times that President Trump was making “a great move, expanding the Republican Party” by holding the Bronx rally “right in the belly of the beast.”

About 77 percent of Bronx Countians are black or Hispanic, U.S. Census data show; then-candidate Joe Biden won the area by nearly 68 percentage points over President Trump in the 2020 election.

It was unknown whether President Biden was planning to make any campaign stops soon in New York. His campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

However, President Biden has taken a number of steps aimed at boosting support among blacks; he recently gave the commencement address at Morehouse College, a historically black institution, and has met with black leaders at the White House.

The former president has made several small-scale campaign stops in New York and recently stated that he thinks he has a “good chance” of winning New York, the state where he lived much of his life before moving to Florida.

Still, analysts doubt President Trump can make up sufficient ground to win the state and turn it Republican “red.”

No Republican presidential candidate has scored a victory in New York since 1984, when President Ronald Reagan won re-election. That was four years after then-candidate Ronald Reagan campaigned in the Bronx and won the first of his two presidential terms.

NTD Photo
Part of the rally for former President Donald Trump in the South Bronx in New York City on May 23, 2024. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

Jason Meister, 41, a Trump advisory board member and lifelong New Yorker, said politicians from both major parties have “neglected communities like the South Bronx.” About 35 percent of people there live in poverty.

Former GOP candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain “wouldn’t have even driven through the South Bronx,” Mr. Meister told The Epoch Times.

He pointed to President Reagan’s past visit to the Bronx and subsequent victory, and quipped: “I think we could have a ‘Donald-Reagan’ outcome this year.”

Mr. Meister credits President Trump’s “unconventional approach to retail politics” for attracting support from previously unlikely segments of the population.

“We have a presidential candidate that is actually speaking to the American people, not at them,” Mr. Meister said.

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), whose district includes the South Bronx, denounced the former president’s visit shortly after learning about it. “The South Bronx has no greater enemy than Donald Trump,” Mr. Torres declared in a post on X, formerly Twitter, speaking personally, not as a lawmaker.  He accused President Trump of being “on a mission to dismantle the social safety net on which Bronx families depend for their survival.”

“Trump is and has always been a fraud,” Mr. Torres continued. “The South Bronx—the most Democratic area in the nation—will not buy the snake oil that he is selling.”

But President Trump waxed nostalgic about New York’s former global reputation as the place to be if a person wanted to “make it.”

The former president bemoaned, “I’m so tired of politics,” and told the crowd he wanted to devote some time to discussing success.

He spent about one-third of his 90-minute speech sharing lessons learned during his career as a real-estate developer in New York; he told young people he hoped they would remain determined even when the odds are stacked against them. That was a lesson he learned from his father, Fred, and it has guided how he has lived his life, approached the presidency, and his candidacy, he said.

Despite the extent of the problems that are plaguing New York, “we are not going to abandon our hope and our pride,” he said, adding that he has plans to “Make New York great again” while “simultaneously” doing the same for America.

Brian Hughes, spokesman for the Trump campaign, said: “President Trump has a lifetime love of New York City. Personally and professionally, the city is special to him, and his mark is literally on the iconic skyline.”

“We see in polls and from talking to voters that President Trump is making historic gains with young voters, black voters, and Hispanic voters. Those voters are represented in the Bronx,” he told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Hughes predicted that the Bronx rally would “serve as a clear indication that the polls are accurately reflecting the sentiment in this community and across the nation.”

Samira Bouaou, Enrico Trigoso, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed.

From The Epoch Times

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.