Former President Donald Trump Aims to Turn New York Red in South Bronx Rally

Jimmy Williams

In a bold attempt to sway a traditionally Democratic stronghold, former President Donald Trump held a campaign rally on Thursday evening in the South Bronx, New York. The rally, aimed at courting Hispanic and Black voters, saw several thousand supporters gather at Crotona Park.

“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,” Trump declared to the enthusiastic crowd. He urged his supporters to mobilize and vote, expressing confidence in his campaign’s potential to win New York State. “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,” he said.

Throughout his hour-and-a-half speech, Trump addressed familiar themes such as crime reduction, deportation of undocumented immigrants, and praised authoritarian leaders like China’s President Xi Jinping and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. Despite the challenges of turning a deeply blue state red—New York has consistently voted for Democratic presidential candidates since 1988—Trump remains optimistic.

This rally marks Trump’s fourth campaign event in New York City amid his ongoing criminal trial. His recent appearances have included stops at a Harlem bodega, a Manhattan construction site, and a tribute to first responders in midtown Manhattan. Trump is particularly focused on appealing to Black and Hispanic voters, crucial demographics for any presidential candidate.

New York’s 15th congressional district, where the rally was held, is known for its diversity and strong Democratic leanings. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, more than 50% of the district’s population is Hispanic, 30% is Black or African American, and less than 10% is white. Despite this, Trump is determined to make inroads. “I’m going to make a play for New Yorkers,” he told reporters last month, criticizing President Biden as “the worst president in history.”

The Biden campaign swiftly responded to Trump’s efforts with new TV and radio ads challenging his record with the Black community. Jasmine Harris, the Biden campaign’s Black media outreach director, criticized Trump’s motives: “Every halfhearted attempt by the Trump campaign to pander for Black and Latino votes is another reminder that the candidate…has one true interest: regaining power so he can enact revenge on his enemies.”

The New York Young Republicans, who organized Trump’s visit, reported distributing nearly 2,000 flyers around the city to promote the event. Adam Solis, chairman of the New York Young Republican Black Caucus, expressed enthusiasm about Trump’s potential impact. “He was an incredible businessman. He was business savvy. And if there was something that needed to get done, he could get it done,” Solis said.

Trump’s rally, however, did not go unopposed. Anti-Trump protesters clashed with his supporters outside the event, and a counter-demonstration led by Bronx Democrats and liberal activists took place at the other end of Crotona Park. Democratic Assemblywoman Amanda Septimo emphasized the community’s resistance to Trump’s influence, stating, “We will come together and tell our own story.”

Despite New York’s Democratic dominance, Trump’s efforts signal a strategic attempt to expand his base and challenge the status quo, underscoring the contentious and polarized nature of the upcoming election.

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