Why Trump is rallying in deep-blue Bronx where thousands are expected to show support: He’s ‘not afraid to show up’

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Former President Donald Trump is set to hold a campaign rally in the South Bronx on Thursday, an audacious statement of intent in a borough that hasn’t backed a Republican for the White House in 100 years.

Not since Calvin Coolidge won every Empire State county in 1920 and 1924 has a GOP candidate won the Bronx and Trump is unlikely to break that trend — having failed to reach 10% support in 2016 and barely reaching 15% four years ago.

However, the Trump campaign insists Thursday evening’s event in Crotona Park for a crowd of up to 3,500 people is in keeping with how the 77-year-old’s team has been “utilizing” New York City throughout the “hush money” trial that has kept Trump cooped up in a Manhattan courtroom for weeks — and is part of a larger strategy for the 45th president to reach out to traditionally Democrat voters.

Going home again

Thursday’s rally will be the first time Trump has campaigned in his birth state since a 2016 event in Buffalo. It will also follow a wildly successful seaside spectacle earlier this month in the Jersey Shore town of Wildwood, which drew an estimated 100,000 fans of the former president to the Garden State.

Trump has been held up in court proceedings in New York for over a month but has done small campaign stops in the NYC. Getty Images
Trump has been held up in court proceedings in New York for over a month but has done small campaign stops in the NYC. Getty Images

“The park only holds a couple thousand people. So this is certainly not going to be a Wildwood. But you know what, President Trump is certainly not afraid to show up,” Trump campaign spokesperson Danielle Alvarez told The Post.

“We’ve been able to utilize the city, whether it’s a Democrat stronghold like the bodega in Harlem, you saw the support, whether it’s showing up at a Teamsters construction site one morning, the president had broad support, even in places that you traditionally consider Democrat strongholds.”

“While he is in court, we are using New York City as a backdrop,” Alvarez went on, noting that Trump often speaks to the media outside the courtroom and also does interviews from Trump Tower four times a week during proceedings.

“More than anything, it’s about creating a ready made media moment for the campaign,” one Trump ally argued. “No one is better than Donald Trump at creating a spectacle for the media to slop up.”

The campaign is expecting more than 3,000 people to Crotona Park, in the South Bronx. Kevin C. Downs for NY Post
The campaign is expecting more than 3,000 people to Crotona Park, in the South Bronx. Kevin C. Downs for NY Post

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” added another source close to the campaign.

“President Trump is taking advantage of being stuck in New York by holding a rally that will surely highlight how Joe Biden has failed Bronx residents with inflation and the open border. The nation’s biggest outlets are headquartered in NYC. [Manhattan DA Alvin] Bragg has inadvertently given Trump a massive stage.”

Staten Island Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, the only Republican member of Congress representing a New York City district, told The Post she thinks Trump’s Bronx rally is “a great start.”

“It’s exciting for New York City to have President Trump rallying, and it’s important for him to reach out to, particularly minority communities. I think New York is in play,” she said.

“New York is desperate for a balance, and they’ve shown that … We flipped that City Council seat in the Bronx, right in the heart of AOC’s district. In my congressional district, we were able to flip multiple [state] Assembly seats Republican.

“My district would love for President Donald Trump to make a stop, particularly Staten Island,” added Malliotakis, shouting out the only borough to back Trump in both 2016 and 2020.

In future, the lawmaker added, she would “love to see him do something at Yankee Stadium, or take over the beach on Staten Island like he did in Wildwood.”

Making inroads

The Bronx is alone among New York City’s five boroughs in having a Hispanic majority population. It also has substantial proportions of black and young voters, and the Trump campaign sees that as an opportunity.

Polls show the 45th president has been able to make inroads with those demographics this cycle — enough to make a top Biden pollster say recently that the president’s re-election campaign “needs to do better” among those blocs.

A recent survey released by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer showed Trump at 23% support among black voters — the highest level for any Republican presidential candidate since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Trump’s team has tried to make use of his time spent in court in New York City. Getty Images
Trump’s team has tried to make use of his time spent in court in New York City. Getty Images

“We are witnessing tremendous momentum and enthusiasm from black and brown communities all over the country, even in blue states like New York and New Jersey,” Team Trump Black Media Director Janiyah Thomas told The Post.

“Under Crooked Joe Biden, New Yorkers have faced a 17.5% rise in prices, with families spending significantly more on necessities like food, housing, and electricity,” Thomas added. “Violent crime has surged, with murders up 23.1% and felony assaults up 35.4% in New York City since 2019. Black and brown neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by inflation and rising crime rates, endangering the safety and well-being of our families.”

Expanding the battleground

No Republican has won New York since Ronald Reagan in 1984, and the last Republican to win New Jersey was George H. W. Bush in 1988.

However, the Trump campaign has an appetite for attacking Democrats on their traditional turf, recently citing Virginia and Minnesota as pickup opportunities beyond the “blue wall” of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, all three of which the 45th president won in 2016.

Trump held a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey on May 11, drawing a crowd that his campaign estimated to be 100,000. Aristide Economopoulos
Trump held a rally in Wildwood, New Jersey on May 11, drawing a crowd that his campaign estimated to be 100,000. Aristide Economopoulos

On Friday, a rare day off from court, Trump flew to Minnesota to address a state GOP dinner after attending his son Barron’s high school graduation in West Palm Beach, Fla.

“He’s showing up in a way that Joe Biden hasn’t,” Alvarez said. “You have Democrats … beating their chests saying, ‘’We’re showing up sooner than ever. We’ve opened up x number of offices.’ You know what you haven’t done in three and a half years? A single policy that directly benefits businesses and families.”

A source close to the Republican National Committee advised a more cautious approach.

“It makes sense to try and expand the map since it is so tight and so few battlegrounds,” this person said. “But it’s also risky because it can be fool’s gold that distracts you from [focusing on] an Arizona or Michigan.”

However, the source added that “doing a rally in New York isn’t just about scheduling a nearby event around his court schedule. It’s an offensive ploy to get Biden to divert money and resources from states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.”

Trump’s outreach is targeting traditional Democratic blocs. Aristide Economopoulos
Trump’s outreach is targeting traditional Democratic blocs. Aristide Economopoulos

The message

At Crotona Park, Trump will likely focus on the same issues as at his other rallies: the economy, illegal immigration and the criminal case against him.

“The Empire State, a place near to President Trump’s heart, has been decimated by Biden. President Trump will ease the financial pressures placed on households and re-establish law and order in New York!” the Trump campaign said in announcing the rally.

“We can Make America Great Again by tackling lawlessness head-on, ceasing the endless flow of illegal immigrants across our southern border, and reversing the detrimental effects of inflation by restoring people’s wealth.”